FRC Blog

The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls

by Cathy Ruse

February 11, 2019

Recent decades have seen “Mommy Wars” about daycare and breastfeeding. Are we on the cusp of a new fight over whether to send your kids to public school?

If so, I say bring it on. It’s long overdue.

Should we pull our kids out of public school? Millions of parents with children in public schools can’t believe they’re asking this question. But they are.

Family Research Council hosted an expert panel on this question last week. Grab a cup of coffee and an hour and watch it here.

The panel features Mary Hasson, a lawyer and writer with the Ethics and Public Policy Center discussing her new book, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late.

The first consideration for people of faith is, well, faith. Does attending government schools impact a child’s faith as an adult? Hasson cited bracing research that suggests it does. In one study on Catholic children, only 5 percent continued to practice their faith as adults after going through public school as kids, compared to 40 percent who kept their faith after attending Catholic schools. Evangelical children experience a similar loss of their Christian faith.

Not only are American public schools hostile to religious faith, there are hostile to America. Hasson discussed how there is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with your tax dollars.

But the game-changer, said Hasson, is the “fractured concept” of the human person that public schools now teach. Sex confusion and transsexualism are dogma. And this anti-science propaganda is producing disturbing results: some schools see up to 20 percent of their students identifying as LGBTQ, said Hasson.

Even when schools allow parents to excuse their children from classes about their changeable genders, “you can’t opt a child out of the school culture.” Schools have embraced the idea that, since any child can be “trans,” every child must be treated as potentially “trans.” This approach is “baked into the culture” of government schools today.

Activist and public school parent Meg Kilgannon provided another perspective on the question. There’s too much public money on the table to just leave it to liberals to use as they wish to ruin our nation’s children. While conservatives bicker endlessly about charter schools vs. vouchers, Leftists are happily spending our tax money molding the nation’s young minds in their image.

Kilgannon knows the fight in Fairfax County fight well. She is a parent activist par excellence who has stayed in the system but fought to protect her kids every step of the way.

If conservative and Christian families leave, what about the children left behind? These children, said Kilgannon, will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, presidents, etc. The future of our nation is inextricably tied to the state of our public schools today.

Both panelists agreed that there are good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate. But they find themselves in a tenuous position if they question the radical sex ed or identity politics that their professional associations peddle.

Both agreed, too, that parents’ first duty is to their children.

Hasson’s final point has stayed with me more than any other. Every education choice bears a cost, she said. The cost of private schools can be a mountain of tuition dollars, the cost of homeschooling includes time and lost income. But the cost of public schools just might be your children’s souls.

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10 Nominees Have Faced Unconstitutional Religious Tests in Less Than 2 Years

by Alexandra McPhee

February 11, 2019

Imagine that one day you sit down for a job interview. You are prepared to answer your interviewer’s questions and demonstrate your qualifications for the position.

Then imagine getting asked a question that has nothing to do with whether you are qualified for the job. In fact, though irrelevant, the question has to do with something very personal—your faith.

Do you personally believe that gay relationships are a sin?”

Do you intend to end your membership with this faith-based organization to avoid any appearance of bias in your new position?”

As your interviewer keeps probing for an answer, you realize that whether you get the job depends entirely on your answer to this irrelevant question. And you realize that no matter what your answer is, the interviewer has already made up her mind.

After all, how do you respond to comments like “I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma” or “religion has been used as a ruse to discriminate”?

You have just imagined the job interviews for 10 presidential nominees and their experience before the United States Senate. Not only were they questioned about their faith—they were questioned publicly and by senators who had every intention of casting them in a negative light based on their answers. And on more than one occasion, senators relied on the mischaracterizations of faith-based organizations perpetuated by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group hostile to several faith-based organizations.

FRC’s new Issue Brief Rebels Without a Clause: When Senators Run Roughshod Over the “No Religious Test” Clause of the U.S. Constitution catalogs a disturbing trend by senators of interrogating nominees about the particulars of their beliefs or affiliations that demonstrate a hostility towards religion. The questions go beyond a reasonable inquiry into whether the nominee can remain impartial if faced with circumstances that conflict with her personal values. They aim to paint the nominee as discriminatory, partial, and incapable of faithfully carrying out her official duties.

Regardless of the political party of the senator, the nominee’s religious beliefs, or the particular office, these questions deter qualified candidates from pursuing public office at a time when we need them most. Faith and religion, after all, are often the foundation of integrity and character. The hostility and mistrust of religion that underlies these questions threaten to create a deficit of true leaders who are often such great role models because of their faith.

As commentators continue to draw attention to this flagrant display of bias against certain religious beliefs, we hope our elected leaders will understand that voters will not tolerate attacks against qualified candidates in exchange for fleeting political gain.

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Marriage Gives Love a Canvas to Paint On

by Daniel Hart

February 8, 2019

This week is National Marriage Week, so it’s a great time to reflect on the beauty and fundamental importance of marriage.

Over the last few decades, a plethora of social science has come out about how marriage is highly beneficial for the health and well-being of men, women, children, and society in almost every way.

Whether our culture admits it or not, all of these studies merely confirm what we already know deep down to be true. All of us are born with an innate intuition that there is something primal and essential about marriage that goes to the core of who we are as human beings. Even liberal Hollywood stars have an instinctive sense that there is something distinctive and vital about marriage. Liam Hemsworth, who recently married Miley Cyrus after a 10-year on-and-off again relationship, observed: “We’ve been together for a long time and it felt like it was the right time to do it…Not much about the relationship changes [after marriage], but you kind of have… the husband and wife thing, it’s great. I’m loving it.”

Children do too. When a child grows up with a single parent, there will inevitably be a day when that child asks of their own accord, “Where is my Dad?” or “Where is my Mom?” This primordial question about our origins points directly toward what marriage is: the binding, natural, covenantal vow that our Creator designed to keep men and women, mothers and fathers—and therefore society itself—bonded together. When something is missing from this bond, we know it to our core, even as children.

Sadly, the influence of culture has caused many to ignore their intuition, and as a result, marriage is now widely seen as at worst constraining and at best optional. Many now ask, “Why should I bother to get married?” The cultural ubiquity and acceptance of cohabitation, contraception, and divorce has made marriage seem irrelevant in the minds of many.

There’s one simple answer to this question: love. We were created by Love itself (1 John 4:9), we came into the world through an act of love, and our purpose as human beings is to love. Simply put, marriage gives our capacity for love a canvas to paint on, a canvas that is formed by the vow that we make to our beloved. Day in and day out, that canvas is right there in front of us—our spouses and our children—waiting to be loved. And as the years stretch on and we recommit ourselves to our vow on a daily basis, God continually infuses us with His grace, stretching that canvas ever larger and our hearts ever wider, making all things new with each sunrise.

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President Trump’s Pro-Life Proclamation

by David Closson

February 6, 2019

Last night, President Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address, highlighting his administration’s achievements on the economy, taxes, and foreign policy, and calling for bipartisan solutions on immigration, infrastructure, and health care.

However, for social conservatives, the highlight of the speech was undoubtedly the president’s forceful denouncement of late-term abortion. Referring to recent legislation passed in New York that stripped explicit protections for babies born alive following a failed abortion, the president said:

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.

The president also referenced embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam who last week appeared to endorse letting born alive babies die. President Trump did not mince words as he explained, “the Governor of Virginia… basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.”

Continuing with the topic of late-term abortion, President Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to prohibit “the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

He then offered stirring words that may be without precedent in modern American political history. Looking out at the gathered dignitaries, government officials, and lawmakers in the House chamber, President Trump said:

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.

From the perspective of the Christian worldview, one of the most fundamental doctrines affirmed in the Bible is the imago dei, the belief that all people are made in the image of God. By rooting his support for “all children, born and unborn” in the image of God, President Trump affirmed the biblical principle that all people possess dignity and value by virtue of being created by God. For Christians, human dignity and the sanctity of life are grounded in this doctrine, and it is quite remarkable for the President of the United States to affirm this belief in the State of the Union address.

Unfortunately, but predictably, the president’s political opponents did not respond favorably. As the cameras panned across the Democratic lawmakers, their response was painfully and visibly clear. To the President’s call to pass legislation that would prohibit abortion procedures when babies can feel pain, the Democrats sat stone faced, refusing to applaud. The lone exceptions appeared to be Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) who joined Republican lawmakers in giving the president a standing ovation for his support for unborn and newly born babies.

In response to the president’s public support for a ban on late-term abortion and infanticide, FRC President Tony Perkins said:

The president was right to call out the atrocious actions of lawmakers in New York and Virginia in pushing America toward infanticide. President Trump has not only been the most passionate president in talking about the humanity of the unborn, he has been the most persistent in protecting them.

Tony Perkin’s full statement on the State of the Union can be accessed here.

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SOTU: How the President Led on Life, Family, and Fighting Sex Trafficking

by Patrina Mosley

February 6, 2019

The State of the Union has historically been the time when the president, our Commander in Chief and the leader of the free world, puts Congress and the world on notice of the legislative agenda and priorities for the nation. This is why it’s so significant to see President Trump take a firm stand on the sanctity of life, the acknowledgment of what real families need, and the injustice that is happening at our borders.  

Life:

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.  Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.  These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.  And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

All of this came just a day after the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act was blocked by Democrats not willing to give unanimous consent to the fact that babies deserve a chance at life if they survive an abortion attempt. As I mentioned here, the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency was nothing short of unprecedented when it comes to defending life. The Republican party platform now more than ever stands in stark contrast to the Democrat’s extreme abortion agenda. His statement was not only a rebuke of the lack of humanity shown by the Democrats but a fixed point of reference that valuing life is never anything to be ashamed of and that this value is what will make America great.

Family:

To help support working parents, the time has come to pass School Choice for Americans’ children. I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave, so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

Lack of access to school choice has been one of the biggest factors separating the haves from the have-nots. Giving families the option to use their tax dollars to educate their children as they see fit is critical to setting them up for success later in life. Another part of the “success sequence” in marriage is taking the time to invest in your children from day one. Chasing the American dream should not be the goal in life—being faithful to your family and to God should take priority. Paid family leave will help relieve the stress of working parents and encourage these eternal values.

Sex Trafficking:

Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate, it is actually very cruel.

This is certainly true. Not only does illegal immigration defy what scriptures teach on respecting the authorities God has put in place, but it also hurts our national security as well as our communities who are already hurting for jobs, and it certainly hurts the illegal immigrant who is being taken advantage of (in some ways trafficked into labor) with unfair wages. To many in the elite class and to those with political power, the illegal immigrant is nothing more than someone who cleans their house or mows their lawn. For big business, they are cheap labor, so they can keep more profit for themselves. To the Democrats, illegal immigrants are future voters whom they can entice with amnesty so long as the immigrant faithfully votes to keep them in power. What most do not know is how illegal immigration has facilitated sex trafficking:

One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country. Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide-open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Most people are unaware of how sophisticated their system is—how smugglers promise to get women and children over the border but then hold them hostage by demanding more money once they are over the border and then violently forcing them to pay off their “debt” with sex. Often these girls are supervised by the women involved with the smugglers.

ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults. 30,000 sex crimes, and 4000 killings or murders.

One real life example of this was shared by the president in his address:

We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez.  When Elvin — thank you.

When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic.  At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent.  Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking.

Elvin says that, “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve [really] done my job.”  Thanks to his work, and that of his incredible colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from the horror of this terrible situation, and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars. Thank you, Elvin.

We will always support the brave men and women of law enforcement, and I pledge to you tonight that I will never abolish our heroes from ICE. Thank you.

I hope the president’s address opens many eyes to see the compounding effects of criminal behavior. If those who have been entrusted with the authority to protect and pursue justice do nothing, then many immigrant lives will be needlessly victimized.

President Trump’s address is a flag planted in the ground of who we are as a nation, what we should strive to be, and what we’re going to get done by the grace of God.

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The Pro-Infanticide Party

by David Closson

February 6, 2019

On Monday night, Senate Democrats blocked a bill introduced by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that would have strengthened protections for babies born alive after a failed abortion.

Known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Sasse’s bill would require immediate transportation and admission to a hospital for any child who is born alive after surviving an attempted abortion. The bill would also create penalties for intentionally killing infants born alive.

Although the Bush-era Born Alive Infants Protection Act already stipulates in federal law that the word “person” includes “every member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any state of development,” the 2002 law lacks enforcement mechanisms and does not go as far as Sasse’s bill at imposing penalties on abortionists who intentionally kill or attempt to kill a baby.

Prior to requesting “unanimous consent,” which would have expedited the bill’s consideration, Senator Sasse explained what the bill was about. 

In a few minutes the United States Senate is going to have an opportunity to condemn infanticide,” Sasse stated. “One hundred United States Senators are going to have an opportunity to unanimously say the most basic thing imaginable. And that is that it’s wrong to kill a little new born baby.”

This debate is about infanticide and infanticide only,” he explained.

Sasse argued that recent events in New York and Virginia necessitate action at the federal level. Just two and a half weeks ago, New York passed legislation that stripped explicit protections for babies born alive following a failed abortion. In Virginia, just last week, a bill was introduced that would allow abortion up through birth. At the time, Democrat Ralph Northam, the now embattled Virginia Governor, praised the bill and appeared to endorse letting born alive babies die by saying, “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Citing Northam’s unconscionable and horrifying remarks, Sasse argued that federal legislation is needed to protect babies born alive after a failed abortion.

But Senate Democrats disagreed.

Rejecting Sasse’s request for unanimous consent, Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat, argued, “We have laws against infanticide in this country. This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore I object.”

Although Democrats temporarily blocked the bill on Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans can (and should) still bring up the bill for a roll-call vote which will put every senator on record (including those currently running for president such as Senators Booker, Harris, and Gillibrand) on whether they support infanticide. Even if Nancy Pelosi refuses to bring the bill to a vote in the House, it is important for Americans to know where their senators stand on an issue as basic as whether it is acceptable to kill newborn babies.

But regardless of the future of this specific bill, the message sent by Senate Democrats on Monday night is chilling and indicates a shockingly callous view of human life. By denying protections for little boys and girls who have survived an abortion, Democrats have sent a clear message that their priorities and loyalties are not with the vulnerable or oppressed (as they so often claim) but with the abortion lobby and Planned Parenthood.

By siding with the abortion lobby over the baby girl clinging to life on the abortionist’s table, Democrats have surrendered the moral high ground in the debate on human dignity. By capitulating to the political agenda of Planned Parenthood, Democrats have revealed that they value campaign contributions over protecting innocent human life. And by blocking legislation that would protect babies born alive, Democrats have demonstrated that even infanticide is not a bridge too far in their effort to force abortion-on-demand upon the American people.

From the perspective of the Christian worldview, the debate could not be clearer. Infanticide, the actual killing of newborn babies, should not be a political issue. Rather, infanticide and abortion must both be seen as moral issues that touch on the most basic questions of life and human dignity. The inability of so many politicians to stand up for society’s most vulnerable members shows how the deadly implications of the secular, materialistic worldview have permeated even conversations about the moral status of the unborn and newly born. Although science is clear that babies are fully human, many secular bioethicists deny personhood to the unborn by severing personhood from biology. The result is a society not only confused about when life begins but also unsure about what it means to be human.

The Judeo-Christian worldview opposes this dichotomizing of biology and personhood because it understands that people are wholistic beings made up of both body and soul. Unborn and newly born children are people who deserve love, safety, and security. Christians reject abortion and infanticide because we believe babies are made in the image of God and endowed with dignity and value. Thus, as divine image bearers, the unborn and newly born deserve protection because they are inherently valuable and precious to God. Moreover, as the “least of these” among us, they deserve protection from those who profit from their destruction.

If the United States Senate cannot summon the moral courage to criminalize infanticide, then America is worse off morally than many of us even imagined.

To learn more about the dangerous secular worldview undergirding the current push for infanticide, see Nancy Pearcey’s recent book Love Thy Body or watch her recent talk at FRC’s Speaker Series.

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Hotel Trans: Check In Any Time, But Never Leave

by Cathy Ruse

February 5, 2019

Transgender ideologues have tremendous power in our culture, and they’re wielding it against the least powerful. If children and their families can survive the pill-pushing gender clinicians, they still have to face the virtue-signaling politicians and their speech bans.  

It’s the Hotel Transgender: You can check in, but you can never leave.

Put Kids on Drugs, and They’ll Stay Trans

Last week I attended a panel of feminists, self-identified lesbians, and former trans-identified people at the Heritage Foundation, all speaking against the transgender agenda.

It was standing room only. The stories of what this movement is doing to women and children—and young men—are utterly horrifying. I challenge any mother to listen to these stories without crying.

Their stories are tragically familiar. Experts tell parents they must affirm their children’s sex confusion and put them on puberty blockers to “buy them time” to explore their true identity. This is now the default position. But “buying time” is a line no parent should buy.

Anecdotal stories abound of puberty blockers being the first step in an inevitable march toward the transsexual life. In the only study to date following gender dysphoric children who were socially affirmed and put on puberty blockers, 100 percent of the children continued to identify as transgender, and pursued further sex-change interventions.

One. Hundred. Percent. This stands in stark contrast to gender dsyphoric children who are allowed to go through puberty naturally. The American Psychiatric Association reports that up to 97.8 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls experience an end to their sex confusion and do not end up identifying as transgender adults.

Putting kids on puberty blockers does not let them choose anything. It makes the choice for them.

Outlaw Talk Therapy, and They’ll Stay Trans

Why are adolescents suddenly announcing they’re in the wrong body? Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University examined this question in her study of hundreds of cases of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. She reported her findings in a peer-reviewed study that transgender ideologues tried (somewhat successfully) to squelch.

Some teens are rejecting their physical bodies because of trauma (like rape) and psychiatric distress (like abuse), but these influences are routinely ignored by gender specialists in their zeal to further the trans agenda. But the most eye-opening part of the study is the outsized role of social media and peer pressure in this phenomenon. The stories reported by Littman are tragic.

How do we help suffering kids who find themselves sucked into this dangerous “social contagion”? Trans activists are making sure we can’t help them at all.

They have persuaded fifteen states and the District of Columbia to pass laws outlawing talk therapy for teens who want to stop feeling they were born in the wrong body. These therapy bans, originally designed to deny help for kids who seek talk therapy to end unwanted same-sex attractions, have now been expanded to deny help for kids who want to accept their biological reality. New York is the latest to join this list.

The impact of these laws is nothing short of cruel. If a girl suffers from sex confusion, if she wants to find happiness living as a female, she has nowhere to turn.

But if she wants help living as a man, that she can find. The trans lobbyists made sure of that. These laws specifically allow “counseling for a person seeking to transition from one gender to another.”

Choose the right identity, children, otherwise the government won’t let you have a therapist.

That’s the transgender movement today. You can check in, but you can never leave.

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4 Ways Pro-Life Conversations Strengthen the Pro-Life Movement

by Anna Longbons

January 31, 2019

Pro-life individuals have a responsibility to communicate the pro-life message. Through civic participation, many pro-lifers put their beliefs into action, campaigning and voting for pro-life politicians and holding elected officials accountable for their positions on pro-life issues. However, when it comes to discussing pro-life issues with their friends and acquaintances, many pro-lifers hesitate.

On the one hand, because many conservatives ascribe to the pro-life position, pro-lifers may not see the need for intentional pro-life conversations with their conservative friends. Conversely, since abortion is a sensitive and often political issue, pro-lifers may avoid discussing it because they are unsure of an appropriate way to introduce the topic. By starting a conversation around pro-life issues, a pro-lifer risks an exchange that could be at best “preaching to the choir,” and at worst painful and alienating.

Although the risks of such conversations are real, pro-lifers must remember the great need for truth in America today. People who call themselves “pro-life” often do not know why they are pro-life, or what being pro-life even means. The Barna Group found that 59 percent of Mainline Protestant church leaders have never talked about the pro-life cause from the pulpit or mentioned it in a sermon. Engaging professed pro-lifers in conversation allows strong pro-lifers to share the reality of abortion and our opportunity to advocate for life in America.

Pro-lifers have several options available for beginning a pro-life conversation:

1. Inviting nominal pro-lifers to join pro-life initiatives can bolster their weaker pro-life convictions.

When nominal pro-lifers attend a pro-life conference, pray outside an abortion facility, or tour a Pregnancy Resource Center, they come face to face with the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers can enlist the support of friends and church members by asking them to volunteer at a Pregnancy Resource Center or attend a pro-life fundraiser. As these individuals become part of the pro-life movement, their eyes will be opened and their commitment strengthened.

Nominal pro-lifers also may not fully comprehend abortion, but they may have been personally impacted by it. Because abortion has been legal in America for 46 years, millions of Americans have been affected over the decades. People have lost siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends’ children. Talking about abortion allows these individuals to understand and process what happened to their family and friends.

2. Talking about pro-life issues can bring healing.

Abortion has impacted other individuals even more directly. Millions of American parents have lost their children to abortion. By bringing up pro-life issues, pro-lifers can point these parents to programs and resources for healing. Many local Pregnancy Resource Centers host post-abortive support groups, and organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More exist to come alongside post-abortive parents.

While such conversations open the door to healing from past abortion, they can also prevent future abortions. Josh Brahm from Equal Rights Institute observes that many women do not realize the support that is available to them if they become pregnant unexpectedly. By discussing pro-life issues, pro-lifers can ensure that their friends know about the alternatives to abortion and the support that is available to expectant parents.  

3. Asking questions can lead to changed minds.

Entering into a conversation about abortion allows pro-lifers to reach uniformed friends and acquaintances with the truth. Nonetheless, while some people are simply ignorant about abortion, others are hostile to the pro-life movement. Instead of replying with similar anger, pro-lifers can ask their pro-abortion friends why they are pro-abortion. Verbalizing their views forces pro-abortion individuals to consider the implications of their views.

4. Pro-lifers can also bring the message of life to their churches.

CareNet reported that 36 percent of women were attending a Christian church once a month or more at the time of their first abortion. David Bereit from 40 Days for Life reveals that post-abortive women can endure pain when they do not hear abortion addressed in their churches. Churches have an amazing opportunity to share the importance of life and forgiveness, encouraging expectant mothers not to abort and offering healing to those who have lost children to abortion.

Christians can involve their churches in a variety of ways, from coordinating activities for Sanctity of Life Sunday to recruiting church members to volunteer at Pregnancy Resource Centers. By asking church leaders for permission to pursue pro-life activities in their churches, pro-life members remind pastors of the importance of the pro-life message and support church leaders in spreading this message.

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Engaging these four strategies in the pro-life movement will help to build a culture of life. Those who previously paid lip service to the pro-life movement will realize the tragedy of abortion and the sacredness of life, while those hurt by abortion will understand that healing is possible. Women who might consider abortion will learn about the pro-life resources available to them. Additionally, those who hold pro-abortion views will be prompted to reconsider their positions. Reaching out to friends with the pro-life message may be a leap of faith for pro-lifers, but through their faithfulness, our culture will experience the truth and healing of the pro-life message.

Anna Longbons is an intern at FRC Action.

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How Two “Slam Dunks” are Key to the Success of the Tennessee Volunteers

by Caleb Seals

January 30, 2019

The Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball team is off to their best start in school history with a record of 19-1. The Volunteers are ranked number 1 in the nation for the first time in over 10 years. As someone who grew up in East Tennessee, I am thrilled to see the Volunteers at the top of the NCAA rankings once again.

However, the Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes has a bigger goal in mind other than winning games: “I hope that we’ve taught these guys how to grow up to be good Christian guys, men.”

Earlier in the season, Tennessee basketball players Kyle Alexander (image above) and Jordan Bowden got baptized at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Coach Barnes told reporters, “Wins are important, but what happened with Kyle Alexander and Jordan Bowden is bigger than any win we could ever have.”

Tennessee’s leading scorer Grant Williams posted on his Instagram page a picture of his teammates getting baptized, with the comment: “Two of my brothers were baptized and took a step closer to the Lord.” Kyle Alexander also posted on his Instagram a picture of him being baptized with Sevier Heights Baptist Church’s pastor Tim Miller with the comment, “God You’re Good.”

Coach Barnes told the Knoxville News Sentinel, “Last night I was able to go over to Sevier Heights and watch 2 of our players get baptized last night. To see our team there and see not just the response from these guys, but also the students there were about 8 other students there and thankful for what Tim Miller is doing there for the students. I am also thankful for my family and the God that I believe in. I can sit here all day and tell you that I’m blessed and that there are so many things I am thankful for.”

Barnes has said that he spends time in prayer each morning to prepare for his day. Additionally, Barnes’ son Nick is a missionary overseas in the Middle East. Barnes recently reflected on his faith by saying, “I think God has created everything we do. I think he created basketball. I think it’s the platform that we’re supposed to use to be teachers and mentors of young people.”

It is refreshing to see more figures in sports living a God-centered life. We are blessed to live in a country where we can express our faith publicly. From Dabo Swinney giving God the glory after winning the National Championship to Tim Tebow wearing “John 3:16” under his eyes, we need more men of faith in popular culture. Although the current political climate is very harsh towards Christians, when a man of faith like Rick Barnes comes around, we need to cover him in support and prayer.

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What Most People Don’t Know About Sex Trafficking

by Patrina Mosley

January 28, 2019

It’s January, and most people who are socially and politically engaged see this month as the “life” issues month, or the time to celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. But January is also Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It’s a time to bring more awareness to the issue of human trafficking because so little is still known about it in the general public. Most people are unaware that it could very well be happening in their own neighborhoods, malls, and on their social media feeds.

Human trafficking is a criminal enterprise that is raking in billions of dollars and victimizing an estimated 40.3 million people on a daily basis—75 percent of which are women and girls. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that it is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime. Human trafficking can take two primary forms: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Sex trafficking happens in a multitude of contexts, from “brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution” to online commercial sex ads, chat rooms, suspicious romantic relationships, and even in the production of pornography.

In 2017, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.

As we reported in our Women & Pornography publication, “Over 25 percent of child traffickers in Lederer’s study took pictures of the children they were exploiting. Across all ages and in nine different countries, 49 percent of rescued sex trafficking victims report they were forced to participate in the production of pornographic material. Over half of U.S. women used in commercial sexual exploitation were either in pornographic material or threatened with the possibility.”

Each click on pornography helps drives the demand for sex trafficking. In an excellent article by Fight the New Drug, they explain how by law even “porn stars” are at risk for trafficking:

By one definition, sex trafficking is a “modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.”

This means that sex trafficking not only includes sex trafficking rings but any instance in which an individual is forced, tricked or pressured into performing a commercial sex act or any scenario in which the individual involved is below legal age.

By this definition, sex trafficking victims can include “consenting” individuals in porn.

Sex trafficking does not just occur through the kidnapping of young girls and women, traffickers also prey upon victims who have emotional, physical, or economical needs and then falsely promise to meet those needs.

As Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and Executive Director of Prostitution Research & Education explains: “‘[F]orced’ doesn’t just mean at gunpoint or that you have shackles on your ankles—people can be forced into sex trafficking simply by a need to pay rent … Porn performers can be trafficked into the industry, and even consenting performers are at risk of becoming trafficking victims by being forced, lied to, or pressured into doing more than they’re comfortable with on camera.”

For more, take a look at this article by Fight the New Drug about what put’s someone at risk for sex trafficking, how to identify a trafficking victim and the trafficker, and the role that pornography plays in the demand for sex trafficking.

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