Author archives: Daniel Hart

The Catholic Church in Crisis: Two Takeaways

by Daniel Hart

September 10, 2018

Over the last several months and up to today, revelations continue to come out about the cover-up of sexual abuse among the clergy in the Catholic Church, which has now credibly extended to the Church’s highest levels. As a Catholic, I find myself heartbroken for those who have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of the very men whom they trusted the most. I also find myself angry that the very men who have spent so much of their lives studying and preaching about the teachings of Christ could be the ones who would leverage their status as priests and bishops to prey upon the trust of their flock.

Nevertheless, here we are. It is undoubtedly a grace from God that all of these fetid revelations are now seeing the light of day so that the Church hierarchy can at long last begin to clean house, something that is decades overdue, and of which the lay faithful in the Church must hold the clergy accountable as best they can.

At this point, the temptation for those of us who feel powerless to do anything to help right these terrible wrongs is to get bogged down in the minutiae of the all the accusations, denials, and rumors. While it is important that we stay as wise as serpents in the ways of the world, it is equally important to remain as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Therefore, here are two essential points to keep our current moment in perspective so that we avoid becoming embittered and help to bring good out of even the most dire of circumstances, which is what all Christians are called to do.

1. Sin Is Real and Has Real Consequences

Scripture tells us that even the early church struggled with the sexual immorality of the wider culture (see 1 Corinthians 5, among others). It seems that this tendency has only increased in modern times. At least since the Sexual Revolution in the 1960’s (if not earlier), it has become abundantly clear that the Christian church, no matter what denomination or tradition, has been particularly susceptible to being influenced by the wider culture’s view of sex. The Sexual Revolution’s chief export, which has taken root so overwhelmingly in our modern culture, is this: that the primary purpose of sex is for pleasure, which every person has an absolute right to no matter what their age or state in life happens to be.

The wider Christian church has steadily ceded ground and influence in their opposition to this idea for the past several decades, the reasons for which are numerous and cannot be fully explored here. What’s important to realize is that God’s teaching about sex has been and always will be abundantly clear. It is summed up in the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Here is an excellent summation of the proper meaning of this commandment through the Bible’s authority:

The [Christian teaching on sexuality] is also set forth in many other clearly worded texts from the Scriptures that forbid homosexual acts, adultery, fornication and other lewd conduct: Ephesians 5:5-7; Galatians 5:16-21; Revelation 21:5-8; Revelation 22:14-16; Matthew 15:19-20; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Hebrews 13:4; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19; Romans 1:1-18, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11, among others.

The Sixth Commandment is clear — there is a universal call to chastity, and no one is exempt. There is simply no provision for sexual intercourse or sexual touching outside of valid marriage, and those who are married live chastity by complete fidelity to one another. No one is ever permitted under any circumstances to engage in sexual acts with anyone to whom they are not validly married. There are no separate rules for heterosexuals or homosexuals. There is to be no sexual intercourse or touching outside of valid marriage.

I think it can be safely said that this is the most broken and least understood commandment and principle in Christianity, even among Christians. Just one sad example of this is the pervasiveness of pornography. It is no secret that pornography use is the number one sin confessed to Catholic priests and is also widespread in evangelical churches.

The Sexual Revolution proved to be extremely successful at convincing much of society that it is okay to separate the sexual act from the confines of marriage. Once this was done, the floodgates opened. Sex outside of marriage is so culturally accepted that it is now considered a right of passage. The natural outgrowth of this line of reasoning could not be more clear: if unmarried people can have sex, who’s to say it has to be with someone of the opposite sex? What’s wrong with watching people do it on the internet? And so on and so on.

This viewpoint is very convincing to the human psyche for the simple reason that sex is in fact very pleasurable in a unique and powerful way. “How can pleasure be sinful?” the culture asks. Perhaps the easiest way to answer this is to simply point out the current state of our sexual culture—awash in the #MeToo moment. When the fire of human sexuality is not harnessed within the prism of commitment and mutual self-sacrifice, the inevitable result is wildfire, in which people use and abuse each other.

Our culture, along with a troubling segment of the Catholic Church’s clergy, has lost its sense of sexual sin. Perhaps the current devastation that all of this sin has caused will once again awaken a sense of sexual sin and its consequences. First, truly repentant sorrow and reparations must be expressed. Secondly, prayer, self-discipline, and the hard but infinitely fulfilling work of staying faithful to God’s teachings must be taken up with renewed hope and purpose.

2. “From Everyone Who Has Been Given Much, Much Will Be Required” (Luke 12:48)

A cursory review of human history reveals that we humans love power. We often long for it because we think that once we gain power and have more control, we can finally get what we want, and then we will be happy. But God has a far different purpose for power. Christ Himself specifically addresses the proper attitude we should have toward earthly power when He is brought before Pontius Pilate (who had the very powerful position as the prefect of the Roman province of Judaea at the time): “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11).

Christ’s lesson here is clear: Nothing we have gained on earth is because of our own efforts. Everything that we have is a gift from God.

This is a hard lesson that all of those who have positions of power and authority must take to heart. They must humbly accept the power that has been bestowed upon them and use it for the greater good of their fellow man, resisting the urge to use it for their own pleasure or personal gain.

As we have seen in recent weeks, this vital teaching from God has been tragically and systematically abused by the very men that God bestowed power and authority to within the Catholic Church—not only through priests who perpetrated the sickening sexual abuse of children, parishioners, and seminarians who held their trust, but also in bishops who used their authority to perpetrate the cover-up of abusive priests under their jurisdiction. We have also seen a pattern of abuse of power in other Christian churches, showing that no earthly hierarchical system is immune to sin.

Indeed, the proper way to view power is to observe the life of Jesus and how he used his power. There couldn’t possibly be anyone more powerful than Jesus—He was God Incarnate. Yet, how did He use His power? In complete self-sacrifice. Those who witnessed His crucifixion were in fact dumbfounded that He did not use His power to save Himself, and derided Him for it: “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, Come down from the cross and save yourself!” (Mark 15:30)

It’s a perfect illustration of how God’s ways are often not man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). But Christ continually calls us to strive for more than the tired habits of our fallen nature: “Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Christ, then, is the ultimate model for how we should use power—as servant leaders in service of others.

What We Are Called to Do

So what can the Christian faithful do who do not hold positions of authority within their churches to help their leaders stay faithful? It can be tempting to throw up our hands in resignation, claiming that we have no responsibility for what goes on in the hierarchy.

Don’t give in to this temptation. First and foremost, believers are called to live out God’s commandments in their own lives so as to be salt and light on the earth (Matthew 5:13-16), testifying to the reality of sin and its consequences when we are called to. Just as importantly, ordinary believers can and must make their voices heard when institutional change is needed, by writing letters to church authorities, starting petitions, and even holding peaceful public protests if the situation calls for it.

Let’s remember in this time of crisis that no person is an island, especially bishops, priests, and pastors, the great majority of whom are not involved in the sexual abuse of others. All of us, no matter what earthly position we do or do not hold, need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ to get through difficult times. Let’s begin a great renewal of our churches in Christ, who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).

Social Conservative Review - September 4, 2018

by Daniel Hart

September 4, 2018

Dear Friends,

After Labor Day, a common emotion that is experienced by many of us is one of melancholy. We get the sense that the season is beginning to change from summer to fall, and with it, many of us seem to be thrust back in to our roles as workers and students after our summer vacations and school breaks, with all the responsibilities and stress that goes along with it. It’s notable that fully 87 percent of people in the world don’t particularly enjoy their jobs, and I’m sure most adult readers remember childhood feelings of dread at the thought of going back to school after summer break.

What’s important to remember during this time of transition is that work is actually a gift from God that is meant to fulfill us. John Cuddeback writes: “…work has a humanizing power: [in] some important sense it both expresses and brings about our humanity… Our daily work should … provide a basic and irreplaceable experience of human fulfillment … We can first of all seek the humanizing element in our daily work—whatever that work might be.”

In order for us to be fulfilled by our work, we must be engaged by it, and there are helpful steps we can take to be more productive at and satisfied with our jobs. During this season of new beginnings, let’s make a special effort to use our God-given strengths and talents to excel in our work, not just for the benefit of us and our families, but for the betterment of society and to give glory to the Giver of all that we have.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Why Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court – Travis Weber and Chris Gacek

What to Expect From the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing – Ken Blackwell

California’s ‘Must Stay Gay’ Bill Is Nearing Passage. Here’s the Severe Harm It Would Do. – Peter Sprigg

SOGI Law Forces Catholic Adoption Provider to Close After 95 Years – David Closson

Forced Use of False Pronouns Kills Faith and Freedom – Cathy Ruse

New CDC Numbers Show the Sexual Revolution Keeps Making Things Worse – Cathy Ruse

India’s Opportunity for Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

Update on California’s AB 2943: Therapy Ban Assaulting Freedom of Speech and Religion Passes Senate – Peter Sprigg

3 Ways in Which Brett Kavanaugh Has Supported Religious Liberty – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Despite my court win, Colorado Civil Rights Commission is coming after me again – Jack Phillips, USA Today

Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Hate’ Labels Deserve a Vigorous Response – Michael Farris, National Review

SoCal Harvest: Thousands to ‘Take a Stand’ for Bible Amid Greg Laurie’s Billboard Controversy – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Pastor Faces Eviction for Hosting Home Bible Study – ToddStarnes.com

In God We Trust’ Motto On Currency Deemed Constitutional By Court After Atheists Complain – Kassy Dillon, The Daily Wire

The Transgender Language War – Abigail Shrier, The Wall Street Journal

Two-thirds of conservatives don’t trust Facebook, say they’re being censored – Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times

Christian Cake Baker Turns the Tables, Sues Colorado for Anti-Religious Bias – Thomas Jipping, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Nigerian Girl Who Refused to Renounce Jesus for Her Freedom Begs for Help in Newly Released Audio – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

The Shameful Abandonment of the Yazidis – Judith Bergman, The Christian Post

European Union Religious Freedom Report

 

Life

Abortion

Why we should work to overturn abortion laws – Andrew T. Walker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Most Damning’ Planned Parenthood Videos Yet Set for Release if Judge Lifts Gag Order – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

California state assembly passes law mandating abortion on college campuses – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

Trump administration moves to cut Planned Parenthood funding sooner – Live Action

Adoption

States Must Stop the War on Faith-Based Adoption Agencies – Monica Burke, The Daily Signal

Is it OK to get attached to a foster child? – Ashley Gorman, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Other Side of Foster Care – Jason Johnson, Family Studies

Bioethics

Oregon dives deeper into assisted suicide with new drug policy – Bradley Mattes, LifeSiteNews

Families of assisted suicide victims plead for the killing to end – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

 

Family

Marriage

For Better or Worse: The Marriage-Health Connection – Aaron Cheesman, Sacramento Magazine

How (and Why) Government Should Invest in Marriage – Alan J. Hawkins and Hal Boyd, Public Discourse

Why Every Sane Society Encourages Marriage, Not Divorce – Chuck Chalberg, Intellectual Takeout

An Open Letter from Young Adults to Married Couples – Allegra Thatcher, The Stream

Hospital Wedding of Terminally Ill Woman a Powerful Witness – Maria Ximena Rondon, National Catholic Register

Parenting

Stop Criminalizing Parenthood – Kerry McDonald, Intellectual Takeout

How to Reassure Your Children of Who They Are in God’s Eyes – Sara Hagerty, Focus on the Family

Motherhood: Why Society is Making it the Most Stress-Ridden Career – Veronika Winkels, Intellectual Takeout

Talking with Our Children About Homosexuality – Lucy Olson, The Gospel Coalition

How Low-Energy Parents Can Get Their Children to Cooperate – Zac Alstin, Intellectual Takeout

Teach Them About Marriage Before the World Does – Jani Ortlund, Desiring God

Economics/Education

How Our Education System Fails Most Students – Oren Cass, Family Studies

Want More Power To The People? Choose Capitalism – Andy Pudzer, The Federalist

Strong Families Make Strong Schools – Brianna Heldt, National Catholic Register

7 Things I’d Do if I Wanted to Keep Poor People Poor – Brian Balfour, Intellectual Takeout

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Everything Is Wonderful But Nobody’s Happy, And What To Do About It – Nathanael Blake, The Federalist

How an unsatisfying life leads to spiritual freedom – Amy Simpson, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Miracle Baby Born at 22 Weeks and Given a 2% Chance of Survival Heads Home – Micaiah Bilger, Life News

Only 14 Percent Of Americans Changed Their Minds Because Of Something On Social Media – Nicole Russell, The Federalist

Kindness: A Pathway to a Satisfying Life – Barry Brownstein, Intellectual Takeout

Why It Matters That Teens Are Reading Less – Jean Twenge, Intellectual Takeout

Don’t Trust the Peace in Your Heart – Matt Rogers, The Gospel Coalition

Human Sexuality

Can Sexual Orientation Change? – Michael Cook, Intellectual Takeout

I Loved My Girlfriend—but God Loved Me More – Jackie Hill Perry, Christianity Today

STDs continue rapid rise in U.S., setting new record, CDC says – Linda Carroll, NBC News

Pornography

Amazon Pushes Pornography Ads on Website for Boy Scouts – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

18 Mind-Blowing Stats About The Porn Industry And Its Underage Consumers – Fight the New Drug

Social Conservative Review - August 16, 2018

by Daniel Hart

August 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

When God created the human race, the pinnacle of His creation, He endowed us with a particularly amazing ability. Our souls are actually wired to feel an elevated sense joy, happiness, and hope when we witness an act of charity being performed by someone in service of someone else, even if they are complete strangers. As I know I have, I’m sure you’ve experienced a tear well up in the corner of your eye as you’ve watched one of the seemingly thousands of “random acts of kindness” videos that are all over the internet.

What’s amazing about this inborn warmth that we feel when we witness goodness is that it has the power to instantly change our attitudes. For me personally, this has happened dozens of times in my day to day life. These moments usually happen completely unexpectedly, especially when I happen to be feeling a little down or discouraged. After I witness an act of kindness on the street or happen to watch an inspiring video that I come across on Facebook, my outlook on life is instantly transformed to one of hope and joy. What’s more, I feel inspired to emulate the act of kindness myself. This is the phenomenon of kindness being “contagious,” which has been hardwired into our humanness by our Creator.

While acts of kindness naturally move and inspire us, that doesn’t mean we always follow through and do them ourselves—this is where our own sin and shortcomings creep in. Let’s all make a point of moving past any hesitation or self-conscious nervousness we might feel when we see an opportunity to perform an act of charity. You never know who might witness our acts of kindness and be inspired to spread the love, thus transforming our broken world one good deed at a time.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Strong Patents: Key to a Strong Economy – Ken Blackwell

CNN Publishes a Hatchet Job on Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

The Remains of Aborted Babies Are Now a Commodity to the FDA – Patrina Mosley

High School Students Enticed into Private Booth for “Queer” Storytelling – Cathy Ruse

The Transgender Movement Just Pushes People Too Far – Cathy Ruse

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

I’m Proud To Take A Knee With Coach Kennedy – Bobby Bowden, The Daily Caller

A Sign of the Times? Pastor Greg Laurie Forced to Remove Billboards Featuring the Bible – Emily Jones, CBN News

Alabama public schools may soon add ‘In God We Trust’ displays – Frank Miles, Fox News

Christian Baker Again Under Fire Again—This Time for Refusing to Bake a Transgender Cake – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Hispanic restaurant owner recipient of death threats, outrage mob after hosting Jeff Sessions – Chris Enloe, The Blaze

University of Iowa Reinstates Nearly 40 Student Groups After InterVarsity Files Lawsuit – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Trump Admin Upholds Religious Freedom for Federal Contractors – Mark Martin, CBN News

International Religious Freedom

We Must Pay So Dearly’: China’s Churches Raided, Silenced – Yanan Wang, AP

China cracks down on citizens, scans handheld devices for ‘illegal information’ – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

Court rejects appeal for American pastor’s release from detention, Turkish media says – Fox News

Lindsey Graham: ‘Normal relationship’ with Turkey impossible with pastor jailed – Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times

US Congress Urges India’s Modi to Protect Christians, Condemn Attacks on Minorities – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Military Religious Freedom

Army Chaplain Faces Possible Court Martial over Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.com

Militant Atheist Group Calls for Removal of Edwards AFB Commander over Public Professions of Faith – Paula Bolyard, PJ Media

1,800 Soldiers Have Professed Faith in Christ at Missouri Army Base in Last 6 Months – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Pushing abortion on California college students is institutionalized misogyny – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

International abortion pressure was no match for Argentina’s love of life – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

The Worst Poll Ever on the Roe v. Wade Decision – Michael New, Townhall

18 years of the abortion pill have made things worse for women and society – Susan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

Adoption

Toby’s Adoption Day – Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review

4-Year-Old Celebrates His Adoption and New Baby Sister in Sweet Photo: ‘He Was So Happy That Day!’ – Char Adams, People

Bioethics

What Three Identical Strangers Reveals About Nature and Nurture – Mary Rose Somarriba, Family Studies

Slow Code’: Outraged parents say doctors delay care for kids with disabilities – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

California Senate bill allows encouraging terminally ill to choose suicide – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

 

Family

Marriage

Tips for a successful weekly marriage meeting – Erin Stewart, Deseret News

Soulmate Marriage: An Unrealistic Goal? – Annie Holmquist, Intellectual Takeout

How to Strengthen Your Marriage Through Doing the Dishes – Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family

Parenting

How Dads Can Protect Their Kids – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

How to Navigate the Joys and Challenges of Grandparenting – Diana Divecha, Greater Good Magazine

Moms Who Miscarry Benefit from Going to Church, Research Shows – David Briggs, Christianity Today

Studies acknowledge how traumatic miscarriage is — so why doesn’t society? – Anna O’Neil, Aleteia

To the Young Men Who May Want to Date My Daughters – Whitney Fleming, Her View From Home

Economics/Education

Emails Reveal High School Teachers Plotting To Hide Their Political Bias From Parents – Ilya Feoktistov, The Federalist

Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism – Frank Newport, Gallup

Faith/Character/Culture

Your Life Is Not Boring – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

Why Americans go—or don’t go—to religious services – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

A Case for Fear – Austin Roscoe, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Love, Economics, and Cheap SexC.R. Pakaluk, Public Discourse

Support for Christians Refusing to Serve Same-Sex Weddings Goes … Up – Morgan Lee, Christianity Today

You Won’t Believe What Kids Can Find On ‘Transgender’ At The Public Library – Maureen Mullarkey, The Federalist

Human Trafficking

NCOSE Intern Report from the World Without Exploitation 2018 Youth Summit – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

Ministry Leaders Who Counsel People Struggling With Porn Addiction Say It Can’t Be Fought Alone – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

For Parents: My Child Just Told Me They Struggle With Porn. Now What? – Fight the New Drug

Social Conservative Review - August 3, 2018

by Daniel Hart

August 3, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are now in the month of August, the time of the year that seems to be a kind of buffer between the season of vacations and weddings and the season when school and Congress begin work in earnest again in September. Generally speaking, August is when life seems to slow down a bit. Offices are a little emptier, the summer heat is a bit more intense, and there’s a few more stretches of time to spend in leisure.

But what is “leisure”? Most of us tend to think of it in terms of watching a movie or playing a board game. But as John Cuddeback writes, there is an important distinction between leisure and amusement:

Amusement refers to those activities we do because they are fun, or diverting, or simply relaxing. We play a game, ride a bike, go out on a boat, or watch a movie. We enjoy these activities even while they have no obvious product or utility.

Leisure refers to activities that are more serious: we have a deep conversation, we lie on our backs observing the stars, we listen to great music. We contemplate deeper things, we worship God.

Amusement and leisure share a common element: they are not work. But this similarity points to their fundamental difference. At the end of the day, amusement is less important than work, and it takes its immediate meaning from the fact that it serves work, by refreshing us to go back to our labors.

Leisure on the other hand is served by our work. It provides the ultimate meaning and justification for human work.

As we take vacations and spend time away from the office during this season, let’s remember to not only have fun and unwind, but to also spend some quality time in authentic leisure in order to renew our intellects and souls for the work God is calling us to accomplish.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Ominous Court Ruling Allows Discrimination Against Christian Adoption Provider – Travis Weber

With State Department Ministerial, Trump Administration Signals Seriousness on Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

Why It’s Impossible To Support Both #MeToo And Planned Parenthood Without Being A Big Hypocrite – Patrina Mosley

Unleashing America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit – Ken Blackwell

Nikki Haley’s Great Advice on Resurrecting Civil Discourse – Spenser White

Transgender “Revolution” is Really an Elitist Diktat – Cathy Ruse

DOJ Announces Timely Religious Liberty Initiative – Travis Weber

RNC: Schools Must Get a “Yes” from Parents Before Teaching Radical Sex Ed – Cathy Ruse

The Lies of Access and Autonomy – Hannah Borchers

Ohio House Bill 658: Parental Rights are Good for Children – Madeleine Lucas

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Town Orders Family to Stop Hosting Bible Studies on Farm – ToddStarnes.com

These 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom – Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

School District Threatens to Call Police After Mystery Person Gives Out Free Bibles on Campus – Will Maule, CBN News

Muslim Who Squeezed $3M Out of SPLC for Calling Him an Anti-Muslim Extremist Says Others Also Wrongly Labeled – Jeremiah Poff, The Daily Signal

Christian club rejects University of Iowa’s mandate to accept LGBT leaders – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

Atheist Group Sues West Virginia City for Reciting Lord’s Prayer at Meetings – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

International Religious Freedom

Religious persecution in Iran, China must end now – Mike Pompeo, USA Today

American Pastor Brunson Moved from Prison to House Arrest in Turkey – Benjamin Gill, CBN News

China Detaining Over 1 Million Muslims in Concentration Camps but the World Is Silent, Believer Says – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Victims of Religious Persecution Tell Their Stories at International Conference in DC – Katherine Rohloff, The Daily Signal

Trinity Western and the Endangerment of Religious Pluralism in Canada – Derek Ross, Public Discourse

US Tells Iraqi Christians Help Is on Its Way (For Real This Time) – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

Military Religious Freedom

Air Force surrenders to demand to replace Bible with generic ‘book of faith’ on POW/MIA table – Todd Starnes, Fox News

 

Life

Abortion

When Arguments Fail, What Do Pro-Lifers Do? – Liberty McArtor, The Stream

Pushing the abortion pill on college campuses is dangerous to women – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

Amazing new video illustrates humanity of preborn baby in womb – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

7th Circuit strikes down Indiana abortion ultrasound law – Dave Stafford, The Indiana Lawyer

Planned Parenthood opening 14 new facilities in ‘deep red’ states – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

The Tyranny of Reproductive “Justice” – Regis Nicoll, Crisis

Adoption

Should Kinship Care Be the Default Option for Kids in Foster Care? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

Welcoming an Adopted Baby Home Is Both Beautiful and Challenging — And Here’s Why We Need to Talk About It – Marianne Garvey, Bravo

Bioethics

Children Are Now Being Euthanized in Belgium – Michael Cook, Intellectual Takeout

Who gets the embryos? Whoever wants to make them into babies, new law says – Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

Thousands of Euthanasia Killings in Canada – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

UK horror: Patients in ‘vegetative state’ can now be killed without consent – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

What does the Bible teach about euthanasia and physician assisted suicide? – Mary Wurster, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

 

Family

Marriage

We All Marry the Wrong Person – Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family

Words of Wisdom on a Silver Anniversary – Michelle Malkin, National Review

Children of divorcing parents want more information and more say in what happens, study finds – Angus Randall, ABC News

Single Sailors Think Navy Hinders Likelihood of Marriage, Survey Says – Brock Vergakis, The Virginian-Pilot

Our Fixer-Upper Marriage – Stephanie Reeves, Family Life

God remembers the barren, and so should the church – Jenn Hesse, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Parenting

What Are Your Child’s Passions? – Dennis Prager, The Stream

Podcast: Parenting through the hard seasons – Nancy Guthrie, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Genetics of Parenting – Robert VerBruggen, Family Studies

I Love Being Their Mother – Jess Hunt, Her View From Home

Economics/Education

Parents… Deserve the Right to Know’: RNC Passes ‘Parents’ Rights’ Sex Ed Resolution – Mark Martin, CBN News

In Search of Family Time – Amber Lapp, Family Studies

Free-Market Policies Make the Most of the Sharing Economy – Anthony B. Kim, The Daily Signal

Family Instability in Childhood Affects American Adults’ Economic Mobility – Paola Scommegna, Population Reference Bureau

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Gratitude Is So Good for You (and for Those Around You) – Richard Gunderman, Intellectual Takeout

The family that prays together … feels connected, unified and bonded with less relational tension – Jon McBride, BYU News

Living a Life of Purpose: An Interview with Michelle Singletary – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Human Sexuality

The Beauty of Complementarity Goes Beyond Gender – Brett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition

What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex – Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, Public Discourse

Thinking Deeply about Christian Love: Same-Sex Attraction, Sin, and Spiritual Friendship – Ron Belgau, Public Discourse

Why ordinary people disregard the transgender movement as utterly insane – Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSiteNews

Religious Male Students Less Sexually Aggressive, Coercive, Study Finds – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Study finds health risks for transgender women on hormone therapy – Avichai Scher, NBC News

Human Trafficking

The Porn Industry and Human Trafficking Reinforce Each Other – Marlo Safi, National Review

A Need for Child Safeguarding Policies – Lana Lichfield, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

Americans Are Rapidly Warming Up to Porn, a New Gallup Poll Shows. Here’s Why – Jon Miltimore, Intellectual Takeout

How Our More Permissive Attitudes Toward Porn May Impact Marriage – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Pornography is First Boom in Virtual Reality – Brynne Townley, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

 

Social Conservative Review - July 18, 2018

by Daniel Hart

July 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

A common misconception about Christianity that has drawn many away from practicing it is that it has “too many rules” about moral behavior. Prohibitions against things like premarital sex and drunkenness are seen as arbitrary laws that impinge on people’s “freedom” to do what they want. The Ten Commandments are constantly ridiculed in popular culture (and even deliberately destroyed with cars) as hopelessly old-fashioned and obsolete.

What many have failed to see is that having boundaries for moral behavior is actually freeing. An excellent analogy for this is to picture a train on railroad tracks. Strictly speaking, one could look at a train on the tracks and think, “That train is clearly being restricted by the tracks—if it could only be free of the tracks, it would have more leeway to go where it pleases.” But common sense tells us that trains are dependent on railroad tracks to keep their wheels aligned and to allow them to travel great distances at high speeds in a very efficient way—tracks give trains the freedom to operate as they were designed to operate. Anyone who has seen a train going off the tracks knows full well of the disastrous results.

When we go “off the rails,” the results aren’t pretty—bad choices can be clearly judged by their fruits (Luke 6:43-45). For example, premarital sex most often leads to broken hearts and STDs, and drunkenness leads to loss of self-control and can cause the physical endangerment of others.

God created us in order that we might fully flourish and be happy by following His precepts—the “railroad tracks” that are designed for this purpose. We see evidence of this in our lives as faithful Christians, as explained here: “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin’” (Romans 6:17). May we always walk in the Truth of Christ, which will set us free (John 8:32).

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

On Trump’s pick of Kavanaugh, conservatives should trust but verify – Tony Perkins

Forcing faith-based agencies out of the system is a disservice to women – Mary Beth Waddell

In Win for Religious Freedom, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reminds Us Why Judicial Nominations Matter – Travis Weber

Why California Senate Bill 320 is Harmful to Women’s Mental Health – Sarah Stewart

Why the Hysteria Over Roe? Because it Would Strike a Blow to Eugenics – Patrina Mosley

Will the Supreme Court Save Sexual Orientation Change Efforts? – Peter Sprigg

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

California bill banning books, therapy to help unwanted gay attraction stalls amid lawsuit fears – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

Wisconsin’s Marquette Decision Is A Big Win For Free Speech And A Sign Of Trouble – Margot Cleveland, The Federalist

Maryland Church Banned from Services in Its Own Building Fights Back in Court – Josh Shepherd, The Stream

Pastor under fire for high school football devotional – Todd Starnes, Fox News

Planet Fitness bans woman for objecting to sharing locker room with ‘transgender’ man – Doug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNews

Judge sides with University of Iowa Christian student group accused of discrimination – Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

GOP Volunteers Kicked Out of Uber As Driver Says ‘Welcome To The Resistance’ – Julia Cohen, The Daily Caller

University of Minnesota mulls expelling students for not using transgender pronouns – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

International Religious Freedom

Pure Genocide’: Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Religious Persecution Again Rises Worldwide – Doug Bandow, The American Spectator

A British Doctor Is Fired for Affirming Biological Reality – Michael Brown, The Stream

In Nicaragua, Paramilitaries Attack Bishop and Besiege Students at ChurchNational Catholic Register

Turkish Court Sends American Pastor Brunson Back to Prison – Jennifer Wishon, CBN News

Military Religious Freedom

Military Sees Increase In Conflicts Over First Amendment Freedoms – Nicole Russell, The Federalist

 

Life

Abortion

3 reasons why Roe v. Wade will fall, despite past Supreme Court decisions – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

A Closer Look at NIFLA v. Becerra and the Role of Crisis Pregnancy Centers – Helen Alvaré, Family Studies

The Jewish Position On Abortion Isn’t What You Think It Is – Mitchell Rocklin and Howard Slugh, Public Discourse

Judge Rules Trump Administration Can Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

Adoption

This Woman’s Search for Her Birth Mother Comes With a Beautiful Message About the Gift of Adoption – Katie Franklin, The Christian Post

Poll: Ensure All Adoption Agencies Can Continue to Serve Families and Children – Elizabeth Fender, Heritage Foundation

Families Warn of ‘Devastating’ Consequences If Adoption Agencies Are Shut Down Over Gay Marriage Beliefs – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Bioethics

Opponents of Assisted Suicide Offer a Message of Hope – Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Stream

 

Family

Marriage

Three Sisters, Three Weddings in Three Months – Patti Armstrong, National Catholic Register

Maximizing Everyday Moments in Your Marriage – Greg Smalley, Focus on the Family

The Best Way to Properly Apologize to Your Spouse – Ted Cunningham, Focus on the Family

Parenting

6 Reasons Millennials Should Stop And Embrace Parenthood – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, The Federalist

Why Parents Should Encourage Risky Play – Justin Coulson, Family Studies

Economics/Education

Decision to live together negatively affects wealth accumulation – Iowa State University

Congress should end marriage penalties in the tax code and welfare system – Erik Randolph, Georgia Center for Opportunity

Faith/Character/Culture

What Is Best in Life? Jesus And the Mayo Clinic Know! – Elizabeth Scalia, Word on Fire

Steve Ditko’s Great Gift To The World: ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’ – Aaron Gleason, The Federalist

How conversations with my father have shaped my faith – Benjamin Ball, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Extinction of the Middle Child – Adam Sternbergh, The Cut

The Most Dangerous Place to Live: The Subtle Perils of the Past – Greg Morse, Desiring God

I Advocated Civility, But Didn’t Practice it When it Mattered – Liberty McArtor, The Stream

Human Sexuality

What do I do if my child doesn’t seem to fit with typical gender norms? – Jared Kennedy, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Podcast: Am I Less Human If I’m Sexually Unfulfilled? – Sam Allberry, Desiring God

The Myth of the “Desistance Myth” – Julian Vigo, Public Discourse

For Women’s Health, Maybe It’s Time to Focus on Natural Pregnancy Prevention Methods – Maria Archer, Family Studies

Human Trafficking

277 Arrested In Huge Florida Undercover Sex Trafficking Sting – Fight the New Drug

In Minnesota, Porn Is Now Officially Recognized As A Contributor To Human Trafficking – Fight the New Drug

One Train Passenger’s Tweet Saved 25 Girls From Human Trafficking – Fight the New Drug

Pornography

Is Pornography Use Increasing Loneliness, Particularly for Young People? – Mark Butler, Family Studies

Your Friend Just Told You They Struggle With Porn—Now What Do You Do? – Fight the New Drug

Groundbreaking Study Finds Video Game Addiction Is Linked To Compulsive Porn Use – Fight the New Drug

My Life Isn’t Your Porn” – Thousands of Women are Protesting Spycam Pornography – Lana Lichfield, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Smartphones have given your teen daughter a secret life – and it’s destroying her – Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSiteNews

Social Conservative Review - July 2, 2018

by Daniel Hart

July 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

Many in our culture today think of Jesus as a kind of domesticated philosopher who had some polite things to say about how everyone should be nice to each other. Christ’s actual words in the gospels, however, reveal just how subversive he truly was 2,000 years ago and remains to this day. When I say “subversive,” I don’t mean in the sense of dissident rebellion towards society. I mean that the demands that Jesus placed on our human capacity for love were and are truly revolutionary and formidable. Consider these words from the fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel:

You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…”

And again: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

And again: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.”

And again: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

If we are honest with ourselves, these words should shake us to our core, because they sound impossibly impractical and superhumanly difficult to put into practice. We all fail at doing what Christ tells us to do in these verses with such routine regularity that his words can seem almost absurd at times. The reason for this can be traced all the way back to the beginning. Ever since our earliest ancestors fell into temptation in the Garden of Eden, we humans have been stuck in a default setting of selfishness—our fallen natural instinct is to be comfortable in our own self-righteous anger, lust, defensiveness, and loathing. Christ’s teachings completely subvert our inclinations, calling us to a higher and greater way of being. Since Christ is one with God the Father—our Creator—he has perfect understanding of man’s fallen nature. Therefore, his teachings are ultimately designed for our complete restoration—to bring about the apex of human flourishing, fulfillment, and happiness—as it was meant to be from the beginning.

Many in our society put Jesus in the “nice guy who said nice things” box and insist that “niceness” is all he stood for. What they do not realize, and what we believers must fight for, is this truth: that Jesus is a full rebuke of the “think whatever you want to think” and “do whatever feels right” mentality. In this age of confusion, where identities, emotions, and urges rule the day, there is nothing more subversive than Jesus. But the paradox is that there is nothing more attractive, either—who doesn’t want to be happy and fulfilled?

This, then, is the challenge for believers: to help unbelievers rediscover their original design before the fall by living out Christ’s radically challenging teachings in our own lives. Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

America Celebrates Another Freedom Revolution – Ken Blackwell

Keep kids with parents at border — and remember how we got here – Tony Perkins

Are Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg For or Against Religious Hostility? – Travis Weber and Andrew Rock

The Little-Known Figures Who Had an Outsized Impact on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision – Peter Sprigg

The Freedom to Serve: Why Religious Adoption Agencies Must Be Protected – Spenser White

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

A culture of freedom keeps winning at the Supreme Court – Andrew T. Walker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

SCOTUS Invalidates Ruling Against Christian Florist – Hank Berrien, The Daily Wire

Southern Poverty Law Center’s settlement with ‘extremist’ organization dings credibility – Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times

Floral Artist Faced Same Intolerance as Jack Phillips – Kristen Waggoner, National Review

Supreme Court Reverses Ruling Against Kansas Woman Told by Police to Stop Praying in Her Home – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

Faith and courage – Ray Hacke, WORLD

SCOTUS allows lower court to ban prayer from public square – Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review

International Religious Freedom

President Buhari, Please Stop the Muslim Slaughter of Nigerian Christians – Michael Brown, The Stream

Countries increasing legal restrictions on religion, survey finds – Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times

Canadian Bus Driver Arrested Two Years Later For Criticizing Homosexuality – Jeremiah Keenan, The Federalist

 

Life

Abortion

Pro-Life Advocates Celebrate Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Law Forcing Abortion Promotion – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

Why The Supreme Court’s Ruling Will Protect All Pregnancy Centers From Forcibly Promoting Abortion – Margot Cleveland, The Federalist

Overturning Roe v. Wade is a Major Step. But Changing Hearts Is the Endgame – Liberty McArtor, The Stream

How to Overturn Roe – Josh Craddock, First Things

Adoption

Philadelphia Bans Catholic Agency From Placing Foster Kids with Christian Families – Charlene Aaron, CBN News

More Adopted Children, Who Are Adults Now, Look For Birth Parents – Ashley Westerman, NPR

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father – Marcia Kester Doyle, Her View From Home

Comparing Border Children To U.S. Foster Kids Proves The Outrage Is Disgustingly Selective – Donna Carol Voss, The Federalist

Adoption Is Love – Heather Duckworth, Her View From Home

Bioethics

Physician Assisted Suicide and the Rise of Suicide Cults – Grace Emily Stark, Public Discourse

Jahi McMath, the teen doctors tried to declare dead five years ago, has died – Cassy Fiano, Live Action

Obamacare

Trump’s New Health Initiative Will Spell Relief for Americans – Robert Moffit, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Marriage

35 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage – Brad & Heidi Mitchell, The Stream

Want a better marriage? These core values keep families close – Linda Lewis Griffith, The Tribune

Fertility and Marriage: An Underappreciated Link – Angela Rachidi, Family Studies

How Asking For My Husband’s Help Around the House Changed My Life – Elisa Cinelli, Her View From Home

This Two-Step Process Can Cure Your Lonely Marriage – Greg Smalley, Focus on the Family

Economics/Education

Teaching Children How to Manage Money – Laurie DeRose, Family Studies

For Young Adults, Economic Security Matters for Marriage – Benjamin Gurrentz, U.S. Census Bureau

Faith/Character/Culture

Ten Thousand Small Trials: How God Fits Us for Glory – Scott Hubbard, Desiring God

New Mister Rogers Documentary Is Full Of Surprises About An American Icon – Josh Shepherd, The Federalist

How Flourishing Families Cultivate Great Art – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

The Seven Things You Need to Know About Forgiveness – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

The Most Damaging Attitude in Our ChurchesC.M. Joyner, Relevant

Gloom in The Time of Oculus – Matthew Becklo, Word on Fire

The American Library Association’s criticism of Little House entirely misses the mark – Megan Basham, WORLD

Generation Vexed – Lois M. Collins and Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News

The Joyful Longing of Paul McCartney’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ – Brett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition

Human Sexuality

Scientists Have Unwittingly Revealed that the Obergefell Decision Did Nothing to Diminish Sexual Minority Distress – Mark Regnerus, Public Discourse

Struggling’ with Same-Sex Attractions? – Hudson Byblow, National Catholic Register

The FBI Says Sexual Assaults on Flights Increasing ‘At An Alarming Rate’ – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Human Trafficking

Twelve Days of Action: It’s Time to Raise Your Voice – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

The Brain’s Delete Button: How You Can Erase Years Of Watching Porn – Fight the New Drug

Study Shows How Watching Porn Could Seriously Increase Your Divorce Risk – Fight the New Drug

Social Conservative Review - June 18, 2018

by Daniel Hart

June 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

A recent study reveals that loneliness has now reached epidemic levels in the United States. In a survey of over 20,000 adults 18 and over, the numbers are staggering:

  • Nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
  • One in four Americans (27 percent) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
  • Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others (43 percent).
  • One in five people report they rarely or never feel close to people (20 percent) or feel like there are people they can talk to (18 percent).
  • Americans who live with others are less likely to be lonely (average loneliness score of 43.5) compared to those who live alone (46.4). However, this does not apply to single parents/guardians (average loneliness score of 48.2) – even though they live with children, they are more likely to be lonely.
  • Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
  • Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.

Interestingly, the study notes that “Social media use alone is not a predictor of loneliness; respondents defined as very heavy users of social media have a loneliness score (43.5) that is not markedly different from the score of those who never use social media (41.7).” What is not being said here is that this statistic clearly indicates that increased social media use is affecting everyone, not just heavy users.

I witnessed a perfect example of this last night at a restaurant. At the booth next to my wife and I, a large family had wedged themselves into both sides of the table. Despite this perfect opportunity for a great evening of quality family time, I couldn’t help but notice that large periods of time went by with the family sitting in silence. Why? Because half of the people at the table had their faces buried in their phones, while the other family members stared off into space. Is it any wonder that half of the country is not having any meaningful conversations with anyone when the people they are trying to talk to are staring down at a screen?

This study should be a reminder to believers that we should always be ready and willing to give everyone we encounter our full attention, not just our family and friends. Phones and social media aren’t the only culprits here—often it is our own fear of looking abnormal that keeps us from spending a few moments talking with a homeless person on the street or our Uber driver. We must work on refocusing our priorities to giving everyone in our lives the time and attention they crave and rightfully deserve.

God created us to love and to be loved. We all need to be constantly reminded of the timeless adage: “It is good that you exist.” When we spend quality time with our family members and everyone else the Lord puts in our path, we reaffirm this basic truth and help to spread Christ’s Kingdom.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Christians can influence the world without being influenced – Tony Perkins

Women & Pornography – Patrina Mosley

Dismemberment Abortion – Patrina Mosley

Flocking to tend to our nation’s spiritual needs – Travis Weber

Planned Parenthood’s tax dollar gravy train just got derailed – Cathy Ruse

Imitating My Father – Dan Hart

Getting to Know Generation Z – Marion Mealor

Good But Not Great: Don’t Be Fooled by the Masterpiece Decision – Andrew Rock

Warning to Northern Ireland: Science Without Faith is Dead – Patrina Mosley

Masterpiece Cakeshop: How Can a 7-2 Supreme Court Decision Be “Narrow?” – Peter Sprigg

Politically Motivated Research Underestimates Risk of Suicide After Abortion – Martha Shuping

Masterpiece Cakeshop: Summary of Each Supreme Court Opinion – Peter Sprigg

The Ethical Imperative of Adult Stem Cell Research – Hannah Borchers

Supreme Court Protects Jack Phillips’ Rights, Tells Colorado: “Not So Fast” – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Baker Who Declined to Make Same-Sex Wedding CakeNational Catholic Register

State Judge Sides with Christian Baker – Rodney Pelletier, Church Militant

Philadelphia Archdiocese sues city over foster care placements – Matthew Gambino, Crux

Valedictorian: “They Told Me I Had to Take Christ Out of My Speech” – ToddStarnes.com

A tall Christian cross stood in a Michigan park for nearly 70 years. Now it’s gone – Lisa Gutierrez, The Kansas City Star

Democrats introduce bill to counter Sen. Orrin Hatch’s religious freedom law – Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Indiana high school accepts teacher’s resignation over transgender policy – Kathleen Joyce, Fox News

International Religious Freedom

Pence Meets Indonesia’s Top Muslim Leader After Church Attacks – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity

Today

Human rights disaster’: China’s persecution of Christians at highest level since Mao – Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times

Religious War Looms in Nigeria as Christian Body Count Climbs – Lela Gilbert, Newsmax

Canada’s top court rules against Christian law school: LGBT rights trump religious freedom – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Police seizes 1,100 Bibles in China’s Shandong province – Madeeha Bakhsh, Christians in Pakistan

The Radical Forgiveness One Egyptian Mother Has for Her Son’s Murderers – Lindy Lowry, Open Doors

Several Iranian Christians to Serve Time in Prison – Jeffrey Cimmino, The Washington Free Beacon

International Religious Freedom Report for 2017U.S. Department of State

U.S. senator introduces bill for sanctions against Turkey – Hürriyet Daily News

 

Life

Abortion

What Happened When 3 Women Faced Deep Suffering Rather Than Abort Their Children – Maureen Mullarkey, The Federalist

The Silent Suffering of Fathers After Abortion – Victoria Robinson, The Daily Signal

President Trump to cut Planned Parenthood funding – Cassy Fiano, Live Action

Ireland votes to legalize abortion: ‘a tragedy of historic proportions’ – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Supreme Court Rejects Planned Parenthood Challenge to Arkansas Pro-Life Law That Could Close Two Abortion Clinics – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

Girl with Down Syndrome stuns politicians with powerful speech about her ‘right to be alive’ – Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSiteNews

Pro-life commercial from Herbal Essences stirs up controversy – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

Adoption

Foster Care Fanaticism in Philadelphia – Darel E. Paul, First Things

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child – Kelly Cox, Her View From Home

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go – Leah Outten, Her View From Home

Obamacare

Obamacare Is Shrinking the Individual Health Insurance Market – Edmund Haislmaier, The Daily Signal

Conservative groups, congressional Republicans appear poised for another try at ObamaCare repeal – Joseph Weber, Fox News

 

Family

Marriage

How to Build a Healthy Marriage With Authentic Communication – Michelle Habel, Focus on the Family

Five Myths About Fathers and Family – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Baby Bust: Fertility is Declining the Most Among Minority Women – Lyman Stone, Family Studies

Here’s why it matters that Americans are having fewer children than ever before – Jeremy Carl, Fox News

Marriage Support Needs Time to Work – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Couple with Down syndrome reveals secret to 23 years of wedded bliss – Cerith Gardiner, Aleteia

Grandpa’s 6 tips for a successful marriage – Jackie Pilossoph, Chicago Tribune

Natural Rights, God, and Marriage in the American Founding – Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Public Discourse

Economics/Education

The Left’s War Against Prosperity in Seattle – Jarrett Stepman, The Daily Signal

Faith/Character/Culture

The Importance of Dads in an Increasingly Fatherless America – Virginia Allen, The Daily Signal

On Father’s Day, Remember the Fatherless – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Thank You For Being a Dad Who Shows Up – Emily Solberg, Her View From Home

What Mothers Cannot Give to Their Sons – Anthony Esolen, Public Discourse

No, Amazon Tribes Should Not Be Allowed To Kill Their Children – John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

What Anthony Bourdain Reveals About Living In The Age Of Loneliness – Ben Domenech, The Federalist

How Faith Communities Can Push Back the Darkness of Suicide – Emilie Kao, The Daily Signal

Human Sexuality

School Can Force Students to Share Bathrooms With Transgender Students, Federal Court Rules – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

San Diego Parents Pulling Their Kids From School Over Inappropriate Sex-Ed Curriculum – Grace Carr, The Daily Signal

The War Against Abstinence: Blockers, American Pie, and the Last Great Sexual Taboo – Daniel Ross Goodman, Public Discourse

The Dating Project’ movie offers a 101-level course in courtshipAleteia

Nearly 90 Percent of Public Opposed to Virginia County’s Sex Ed Changes – Rob Shimshock, The Daily Caller

Human Trafficking

DOJ Arrests 2,300 Alleged Child Pornographers And Sex Traffickers – Jacob Airey, The Daily Wire

Pornography

Radical Parenting – Protecting Our Kids from Pornography – GretaEskridge.com

Does Pornography Feed Sex Tourism? – Rose Brugger, Public Discourse

More Americans Say Pornography Is Morally Acceptable – Gallup

Porn Addict Says ‘Wrong Click Changed My Life’ as a Teen, Exposing Her to Abusive, Animal-Like Sex – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Imitating My Father

by Daniel Hart

June 15, 2018

Courtesy of State Library of Queensland

My one-and-a-half-year-old son imitates everything I do these days. “Hey, babes,” I said as I greeted my wife a number of weeks ago. “Hey babes,” he garbled from his high chair a few seconds later. When I left a garbage bag next to the front door one day, he toddled over to it and began attempting to tie the drawstrings together, just as he had seen me do minutes before. Now, to my amazement, he is feeding himself with a spoon. It brings me great joy to watch him carefully position the spoon in his fingers so that he can angle it correctly into his bowl and scoop up food, which he then brings to his mouth with remarkable control and efficiency. It’s as if he saw someone else doing the same thing.

To see my son constantly imitate me is thrilling, humbling, and a bit frightening all at once. It’s exhilarating to know that another human sees me as such an influential presence and role model—I’m excited by the prospect of passing on the passion I have for reading, music, sports, and the knowledge and love of our Father up above. At the same time, I’m realizing more and more the extent to which my words and actions can influence his behavior, which means I really do need to watch what I say and do.

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of all the ways I imitated my own father when I was growing up. I’ll never forget the Saturday he brought me along with him to the local rec center to play pickup basketball when I was around 10. I watched in awe and a little trepidation at how quickly the much larger men moved and passed the ball. I was soon thrown into the mix, and found myself panicking as I tried to keep up. “Stay between your man and the basket,” my dad said. I could tell by the way he played that he took pride in playing good defense. Something clicked for me after that, and I’ve loved playing basketball ever since.

Then there was the beautiful sunny day my dad first showed me how to swing a golf club in our front yard. He explained the proper grip to take, how far away to stand from the ball, how to bring the club back, and the appropriate motion to take on the downswing. As I imitated his golf swing for the first time, I remember a feeling of comfort come over me. Playing golf has been a natural fit and a great source of fulfilment for me from that day on. 

What I am most grateful to my father for is his determination to keep his Catholic faith central in his life. He always wore a dress shirt and tie on Sundays while a large percentage of other men wore jeans and t-shirts. During Mass, he would always sing out the hymns with passion, while many other men in neighboring pews would stand silently with seeming indifference. The reverence he showed during Mass always struck me—his head was often bowed forward, his eyes closed, and his hands clasped together. After the gospel was proclaimed and the congregation took their seats, he would often remain standing for a beat longer than everyone else, as if to take an extra moment to let Christ’s words soak into his soul. I could feel the devotion emanating from within him during Mass, and it rubbed off on me.

The car ride home from Mass would usually entail a heartfelt commentary from him about the priest’s homily. Countless conversations at home about the nature of faith and reflecting on the life of the Holy Family are some of my fondest memories. There were also numerous times that I recall him witnessing to friends and acquaintances who did not share his faith. This has always been something I have greatly admired in him—there was an energy and joy that his faith gave him that he did not want to contain, compelling him to share it with others. There was also fearlessness in the indifference he had to what others might have thought of him. Seeing him take his faith so seriously clearly made a great impression on me. I can see now that it was through my imitation of my father at a young age that I first began to make the Catholic faith my own.

Every father knows that they set an example for their children, but what they perhaps don’t know is how much of an impact they can actually have on them. Part of the reason for this is that it is easy for parents to underestimate how observant their children are, which I have discovered with surprise at my own son’s remarkable ability to imitate me. I doubt that my dad knew the extent to which I was watching him as I grew up. What I have noticed is that this is a common experience. I remember numerous occasions where my sister and I have related our experience of a childhood memory, to which my parents have responded, “Really? You remember that? I didn’t think you noticed” or “That’s funny—I don’t remember it that way!” I have also seen this same interaction happen with my friends and their parents. I have no doubt that when I am advanced in years and I listen to my son’s experiences of childhood, I will be blown away.

In the first verse of 1 Corinthians 11, Paul states plainly: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” For me, this is the perfect encapsulation of what authentic fatherhood should be. God created us in such a way that the father of a family is to be the image of Himself—God the Father. We see this in how a father and mother welcome a newborn child—with love. The first experience of God’s love that a newborn encounters is through the love of their father and mother. As Paul says, the model that fathers need to follow is Christ, the Incarnation of God Himself. But since Christ no longer physically walks the earth, His followers must imitate Him in order to allow His presence to abide in the world. Paul stood as an amazing model for Christ in the early Christian church, and his example was imitated by his followers, who were then imitated by their followers, and so the faith was passed down through the generations. This mission has been passed down to all Christian fathers today—to imitate Christ in order to lead by example for the good of their children and for the good of everyone they encounter.

Thank you, Dad, for your example of Christian manhood. Your witness of faith is something I hope to pass down to my own son, just as you did for me. Happy Father’s Day!

Social Conservative Review - May 16, 2018

by Daniel Hart

May 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

Bishop Robert Barron recently wrote a concise yet profound reflection on John 17:1-11. Here it is in full (emphasis mine):

Friends, Jesus’ prayer in today’s Gospel sums up his wonderful work as he is about to return to his Father. Jesus was, in his very person, the meeting of heaven and earth. God and humanity came together in him, and his entire ministry was the outward expression of that inward identity. By calling a scattered Israel to unity, inviting the poor to table fellowship, healing the sick in body and heart, and embodying the path of forgiveness and love, Jesus was bringing God’s will and purpose to earth.

Now, in his Passion and Death, Jesus brought heaven all the way down into the world. He carried the divine light into the darkest places of the human condition—hatred, cruelty, violence, corruption, stupidity, suffering, and death itself—and thereby transformed them. And the proof that heaven is able to transform earth is, of course, the Resurrection.

Now we know that cruelty, hatred, violence, fear, suffering, and death are not the most powerful forces in the world. Now we know that the divine love is more powerful. God’s kingdom has, in principle, broken the kingdoms of the world, which thrive upon, and in turn produce, those very negativities.”

This is a great reminder for believers to not be afraid of witnessing this divine love to those who do not believe. Christ has transformed even the worst thing that can possibly happen in life—death. We truly have nothing to fear.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Media

One Year Later: The Impact of President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty – Travis Weber

Fairfax County School Board to Teach Kids: “Biological Sex Is Meaningless” – Cathy Ruse

Remembering the Little Ones Up Above on Mother’s Day – Dan Hart

Sponsors of California’s AB 2943 Claim It Wouldn’t Ban the Bible. Maybe. But What About These Books? – Peter Sprigg

Death Panels” Are Now a Reality – Patrina Mosley

Speaker Series: NIFLA: Preserving Free Speech for Those Who Advocate for Women and the Unborn – Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)

Religious Liberty and National Security Go Hand in Hand

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

How a ‘Far-Left Propaganda Machine’ Got a Respected Legal Group Expelled by Amazon – Greg Scott, The Daily Signal

Study: Trump Religious Freedom Order Helps 13.7 Million Receive Health Care and Social Services – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Tony Perkins appointed to US panel on international religious freedom – Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Catholic Marriage Counselor Fired Because of her Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.com

LGBT Activists Falsely Smear Those Protecting Children in Need – Monica Burke, The Daily Signal

Businesses to Avoid If You Can – Mark Bauerlein, First Things

5 Reasons The Southern Poverty Law Center Is A Hate-Mongering Scam – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Trump Religious Freedom Order Helps Charities Serve Over 13.7 Million in Need, Analysis Finds – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

College demands student remove Jesus, Bible references from graduation speech. Then she fights back – Dave Urbanski, The Blaze

Fight over cross at Florida public park resumes before appeals court – Kim Chatelain, The Times-Picayune

International Religious Freedom

North Korea’s Prisoner Release: 3 Down, 119,997 to Go – Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal

Explosions at 3 Indonesian churches leave at least 2 dead: reports – Max Greenwood, The Hill

Arrested in Chengdu – June Cheng, WORLD

State Department knocks China over church harassment – Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner

Military Religious Freedom

Lawmakers Say Army May Have Violated Law by Targeting Baptist Chaplain – ToddStarnes.com

 

Life

Abortion

Iowa legislature votes to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

Planned Parenthood sues Iowa for banning abortion of babies with beating hearts – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

New Device Lets Pregnant Moms Take Ultrasound Pictures of Their Baby on Their Phone – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Thousands protest Trudeau’s abortion agenda at Canadian March for Life – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

I Had an Abortion. Here’s the Message I Want to Share With Other Women. – Victoria Robinson, The Daily Signal

Adoption

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know – Adrian Collins, Her View From Home

10 things that will kill your orphan care ministry: Part 4 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious Liberty

Commission

Will Placing Fewer Children in Foster Care Fix the System? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt – Caroline Saunders, Her View From Home

Bioethics

Judge Overturns California Law Legalizing Assisted Suicide – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

 

Family

Marriage

Daily Rituals Cultivate Lasting Love – Amber Lapp, Family Studies

He’s My Husband, Not My Savior – Kelli Bachara, Her View From Home

Encouragement for New Moms – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Economics/Education

New Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Why Employers Are Ignoring The Untapped Potential Of Stay-At-Home Moms – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

This Is a Bad Look: In Current Farm Bill, Conservatives Prop Up Rich Farmers – Daren Bakst, The Daily Signal

Straight Talk About the Success Sequence, Marriage, and Poverty – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

The War on Wisdom – Dennis Prager, The Daily Signal

You Can Pursue Your Dreams and Love Your Family – Katie Warner, National Catholic Register

The Democrats’ God Gap – David French, National Review

Nevada bank robber, FBI agent who arrested him, pray at White House – Debra J. Saunders, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Every Day With Her Was the Best Day:’ Remembering My Mom – Armstrong Williams, The Daily Signal

The Childhood Quality That’s the Best Predictor of Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Annie Holmquist, Intellectual Takeout

Human Sexuality

Male Sexlessness is Rising, But Not for the Reasons Incels Claim – Lyman Stone, Family Studies

Why A Compromise On Transgender Politics Would Be Capitulation – Walt Heyer, The Federalist

Consent is No Cure – Craig Michael White, Ethika Politika

Human Trafficking

Uncovering The Silent Sex Trafficking Epidemic In New York City – Fight the New Drug

Christian Rocker Risks Life in Undercover Mission to Rescue Victims in Sex Trade – Jeannie Law, The Christian Post

Pornography

You Can Write An Open Letter to the Pornography Industry – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Remembering the Little Ones Up Above on Mother’s Day

by Daniel Hart

May 11, 2018

We shall find our little ones again up above.”

-St. Zelie Martin

Recently, the state of Nebraska passed a bill that is the first of its kind in the history of the United States. The bill allows parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage to apply for a commemorative birth certificate as long as a health care practitioner has verified the pregnancy. Unlike previous bills which mandated that the miscarried child must have been at least 20 weeks old, this bill has no minimum gestation period.

The beauty of this bill is that it publicly acknowledges the life of the unborn, no matter how short their time may have been with us. Miscarriage is an experience that is all too common but often not spoken about in our culture. It is estimated that 15-20 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in miscarriage. Anecdotally, it seems to me that this number is an underestimate—almost all of the couples I know who have multiple children have experienced at least one miscarriage, if not more.

Although these children are unseen and never encountered face to face, their passing has an unavoidable impact on families, especially mothers. As one woman recounts in Karen Edmiston’s book, After Miscarriage, “I could no more pretend that nothing has happened than I could pretend to be fine if my husband died.” This natural response underscores the deep wound that all mothers who have lost children experience. 

Many women may blame themselves or feel ashamed of their miscarriage, and may even be unaware of their grief. Holly Cave recounts one mother who confided to her:

I thought to grieve you had to have lost something you’d met – like a person that you had talked to – or you could grieve over a baby that maybe you’d held,” she tells me. “I didn’t know anything about grief… I didn’t know whether I should leave that to people who had lost actual people, not a very, very tiny baby that you’ve never met.”

As Edmiston explains, “Grief is necessary, and our children deserve the dignity of our mourning, the recognition of their infinite worth, the respect that is manifest in our grieving of their passing.” Grief is an affirmation of love. It is an affirmation that a child is missed. 

It is clear that our society needs to do a better job of honoring the grief of women who have experienced miscarriage. The Nebraska birth certificate bill is a great start in bringing a tragic event into the light in order to help facilitate healing for mothers and their families, especially by officially pronouncing a name for the unknown child. Although no parent should feel guilty if they have not thought of giving their child a name, this can be a beautiful way of affirming God’s gift of life. As Christians, we believe that the life in the womb of a mother possesses an eternal soul, and therefore, the child may possess a name. “Names are powerful,” Edmiston writes. “They identify us, shape us, connect us to one another… It is a small but very real gift you can give to the baby you were not able to see or embrace.”

On this Mother’s Day, let us remember and pray in a special way for all those mothers who have children whose lives ended before they were born—from miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion—or whose lives ended after birth, from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other tragedy.

Here are some resources to help those who are grieving the loss of a child:

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