Author archives: Tony Perkins

Remarks by Tony Perkins at the 2018 NRB Convention

by Tony Perkins

March 1, 2018

The following are prepared remarks by Tony Perkins at the National Religious Broadcasters 75th Annual Convention on March 1, 2018.

Winston Churchill once said, “During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on as if nothing ever happened.”

The apostle Paul spoke to the issue of opportunity in his letter to the Ephesians when he wrote in chapter 5: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

Now, if Paul had grown up in this country, he might have told the Ephesians “Make hay while the sun is shining.”

The sun is shining right now in American when it comes to our First Amendment freedoms. We need to be wise and act quickly, not only using these freedoms to spread the good news, but also to put in place policies that will protect and promote these essential freedoms, not just for ourselves but those yearning for freedom around the globe and generations yet unborn. 

Some of our brethren remain skeptical or indifferent about our engagement in the political process. Don’t be foolish. Elections have consequences, many far-reaching as we continue to see from the years of President Obama.

But we also see the consequences of the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. 

Let me put it in a format that many who track this administration are accustomed to – I’ll put it in the form of a tweet:

President Trump has:

  • Appointed Excellent Judges like Neil Gorsuch
  • Enacted Unparalleled pro-life policies;
  • Cut taxes & is Growing our economy

President Trump is:

  • Restoring religious freedom
  • Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Rebuilding our military

This is happening because many of you in this room used your influence and your platforms to communicate what was at stake in the last election. I believe America dodged not a bullet in the 2016 election, but a political and cultural H-bomb.

Evangelicals, especially the subset that George Barna calls SAGE Cons—Spiritually Active Governmentally Engaged Conservatives (many of your listeners and viewers)—turned out in record-setting numbers and were unified. Ninety-one percent of SAGE Cons representing 20 million U.S. adults voted, and 94 percent of them voted for Donald Trump.

By the way, almost every time I see the president I don’t have to remind him that evangelicals were the margin for his victory—he reminds me that evangelicals voted for him and they love him!

And by the way, in post-election polling, 59 percent said they voted for the Trump/Pence ticket based on the GOP platform’s position on life and religious liberty. This is important. Despite what the media would say, evangelical voters are sophisticated.  They were able to separate personality from policy.

Evangelicals understood what was at stake and voted.

But the election was not the end of our responsibility, but rather the beginning of our opportunity.

First by acting upon it, but also preserving it.

We need to preserve it by communicating to those who look to and listen to us about what is really happening. We have to counter the narrative of the Fake News—which is real. I’ve been in conversations and meetings with this administration, which somehow got into the media based on their sources which were not only inaccurate but if I didn’t know better, I would think there were intentionally misleading.

Because of the importance of the evangelical voter, there is an intense effort on the Left to suppress their turnout in the upcoming elections, by dampening the enthusiasm of conservative voters. If they succeed and your listeners and viewers get discouraged and stay home in the midterm election, the reform is over. The restoration of religious freedom and the freedom of speech will end.

Nancy Pelosi needs just 24 seats to switch from Republican to Democrat to retake the gavel of the House. In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate. There are more than 40 Republicans that have and will announce that they are retiring. 

If conservatives and in particular evangelical voters do not turn out, it will happen, and one of the first orders of business will be the impeachment of President Trump. They most likely will not succeed in removing him from office, but they will most likely succeed in stopping what this administration is doing.

What are they doing? The Trump administration is not just enacting conservative policies in line with the Constitution. President Trump is the first Republican President to not just stop the liberal policies of his predecessor; he is dismantling, slowly, but dismantling none-the-less parts of the framework of big, liberal government which has been expanded with the election of each Democratic administration since FDR

That is why the Left is unhinged. They won’t be able to jump back in the driver’s seat of big government and restart their programs, they will have to rebuild, and that will take time, especially if they don’t have the courts to help them in their activism. This is why every judicial confirmation is a fight.

We have to act upon the opportunity that we have, to fortify our freedoms, to ensure government does not again try to quarantine our Christian faith within the walls of our churches. A lot has been done, but there is still plenty to do:

  • The Johnson Amendment has to be totally eliminated.
  • The forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood must be ended.
  • Patient-centered healthcare must be restored and,
  • God must be welcomed back into our public life.

The president ran and has governed by the theme “Making America Great Again.” But America will only be great again when it has become good again, and that is not government’s mission, but ours, followers of Jesus Christ.    

Benjamin Franklin said, “History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion, from its usefulness to the public; the advantage of a religious character among private persons; the mischiefs of superstition, and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.” 

Let’s be wise and make the best use of this moment in time, this opportunity.

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, there is a national discussion about how to protect our children in their classrooms. The focus has been on the instruments of destruction. We continue in a defensive posture with almost every school in America now having active shooter drills. 

In some ways, it is reminiscent of their grandparent’s generation that had duck and cover drills in their classrooms as Americans feared a nuclear attack from Russia in the 1950s.

While that threat was external, and today’s is internal, might we learn from how they responded?

In February of 1954, Reverend George M. Docherty, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., delivered a sermon on the subject of the pledge of allegiance, with President Eisenhower sitting in the front pew. The sermon was about the absence of the words “Under God” in our pledge. America was at the height of the Cold War with Russia, and a bold declaration was needed to show that there was a difference between America and the atheistic communists.

Three days after that sermon, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the words “under God.”

And on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, Eisenhower signed the bill into law, saying, “From this day forward, millions of school children will daily proclaim the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.”

America will not be great again until it is good again, and that means America must once again not only acknowledge but live as one nation under God. 

Let us redeem the time.

Let us make the most of this moment.

Let us seize this opportunity!

Pulpit Friction: TX Leaders Rally To Pastors’ Defense

by Tony Perkins

October 17, 2014

Thursday may have been Boss’s Day, but don’t expect Houston’s top leader to be flooded with well-wishes. Mayor Annise Parker hasn’t exactly won Manager of the Year after her city-wide intimidation campaign of area churches. After subpoenaing the communications of local pastors, including their sermons and private messages, the Mayor got a few sermons herself from key leaders on the ridiculousness of her vendetta.

Everyone from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to the liberal Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have challenged Parker’s naked abuse of government power. The Mayor “should be ashamed,” Sen. Cruz told reporters before a local press conference this morning. “This is wrong. It’s unbefitting of Texans, and it’s un-American. The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons.”

In the meantime, Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) did more than speak out — he called out city leaders with the full weight of the state. “Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Abbott warned in a formal letter to Houston Attorney David Feldman. “The people of Houston and their religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that their religious affairs are beyond the reach of the government. Nothing short of an immediate reversal by your office will provide that security.”

For his part, Feldman seemed unconcerned, blowing off concerns in a dismissive press conference with Parker, which did more to fan the flames then douse them. “It’s unfortunate,” he said, “that our subpoenas have been construed as some effort to infringe on religious beliefs.” Exactly what part of “their sermons are fair game” isn’t an infringement on religious belief?

The Mayor made it quite clear — not just this week, but throughout the entire “bathroom bill” debate — that she’ll use her bully pulpit to bully pulpits across Houston. Like I tweeted yesterday, if the city government is so curious about what pastors are saying, tell them to stop in on Sunday morning! After all, there’s nothing secret in these sermons; most of them can be found online. But as I told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, this isn’t about sermons or biblical instruction — it’s about political intimidation.

For now, the Mayor’s office shows no signs of rescinding the subpoenas. She may backpedal on a narrow portion of the order, but the government is still demanding pastors’ emails and other private communications. As ADF’s Casey Mattox explains, “The only way to make this subpoena appropriate and not unconstitutional is to place a giant red X across the whole thing. Otherwise, this is window dressing intended to shield them from public attention, not any real change. There is NO construction of this subpoena that is appropriate. Period.”

As the rest of the country looks on, it’s important that Americans understand this is not some kind of political aberration. This will be the norm in a brave new world where human sexuality is completely disconnected from biological reality. We’re just now beginning to see the impact on religious liberty from this cultural collision course President Obama set us on by championing the redefinition of marriage. You can’t alter something like marriage that’s deeply rooted in history and tradition, not to mention nature, without the use of force. Now that force is starting to come against those who are unwilling to yield to this new order. But here’s what the Left doesn’t understand.

The Bible-believing and preaching pastors have already yielded on this issue — to God. And that means they cannot and will not yield to government, regardless of how tyrannical it becomes.

Snoops on the Stoops of the Church

by Tony Perkins

October 15, 2014

When it comes to illegal surveillance, it looks like the NSA has some competition. In a story that’s making Texans’ heads spin, the Houston P.C. police — the same Council that passed an LGBT ordinance this year — is subpoenaing sermons, emails, and even text messages from local pastors to see if they’re promoting a voter referendum to overturn the measure.

The jaw-dropping move — one in a long line of Houston’s “gotcha” government — is only fanning the flames of outrage over the city’s totalitarian tactics. Even for Houston’s radical leadership, this is an affront to the plain language of the First Amendment, which not only gives churches the right to speak freely but the individuals leading them as well! “City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,”said Alliance Defending Freedom’s Erik Stanley. “In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.”

Yesterday, ADF filed a motion in court to stop the senseless monitoring of churches. “The message is clear,” they explain, “oppose the decision of city government, and drown in unwarranted burdensome discovery requests… Not only will the pastors be harmed if these discovery requests are allowed, but the People will suffer as well. The referendum process will become toxic and the People will be deprived of an important check on city government.”

It’s a sad commentary on our times that a nation founded by church leaders is trying to muscle those same religious voices out of the political process. Obviously, there’s no limit to how low the Left will stoop, and how many laws it will break, to impose its agenda on unwilling Americans.


RNC Chairman Reince Priebus joins Tony Perkins on Washington Watch

by Tony Perkins

January 10, 2014

Reince Priebus chair of the Republican National Committee, announced a delay in their annual national meeting in order for members of both the House and Senate to attend the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22nd. This year marks the 41st anniversary of the tragic decision made in Roe v. Wade, the court case legalizing abortion.

Although there have been many applauding this decision by the RNC to delay their national meeting, the applause has been met with its share of criticism. Click here to listen to the entire interview between Tony & RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus.

Losing the Vision of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Tony Perkins

April 24, 2012

Are the claims that the Christian faith is being shoved from the public square real or perceived? Carl Anderson, The Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, who came to Washington last week to speak before the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, provided a pretty compelling answer.

Mr. Anderson, who once worked here, in the Reagan White House, delivered an insightful speech noting the incredible story of the new Memorial to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The planners of the newest addition to our National Mall, Anderson reported, worked hard to find quotations from the great Civil Rights champion. These planners etched these quotations in stone. They carefully chose words of this Baptist preacher. They wanted to honor the memory of the man who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent overthrow of racial segregation in America.

Here are some of the words Dr. King spoke in his lifetime. These quotes come from his Nobel Lecture accepting the Peace Prize in 1964:

Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinite metaphysical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth.

In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.

And, at the award ceremony, Dr. King quoted directly from Scripture, making these words his own:

[In] the First Epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyonethat loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and Hislove is perfected in us.

The planners of the King Memorial, Carl Anderson noted, included none of these quotes.

Nor did they include Dr. Kings invocation of the words of Scripture from his 1963 I Have a Dream Speech:

and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

It seems that the planners were very careful to leave out of the tablets any reference to God. This took some doing. Dr. King was first and foremost a Christian minister. Early in his ministry, as the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out:

I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we area Christian people…And we are determined here in Montgomery [Alabama] to work and fight, until justice runs down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Even here, early in his career, Dr. King was quoting from the Prophet Amos.

It must have been hard work for those planners. They had to search high and low to find quotes from Dr. King that did not include God, that did not quote from the Bible. But find them they did.

Carl Anderson is surely right to point all this out. The Knights of Columbus successfully petitioned Congress as long ago as 1954 to include Under God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Anderson pointed out to the aggressive atheizers of our day that you can walk across the Mall to the Jefferson Memorial and there find engraved these words:

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.

Life and Liberty are indeed the gift of God. And these are never secure in America when we have sandblasted all references to His handiwork.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was never ashamed to associate his liberating work with the unfolding of GodsProvidencefor us. He believed until his dying day that he had been to the Mountain. From the beginning, he put his movement for justice under God, never apart from God. It is tragic that the planners of his Memorial found it necessary to misrepresent his lifes work and in so doing try to deceive millions of Americans who will come after us.

All such atheizing efforts will ultimately fail. You can go to the Library of Congress and learn why. There, engraved in words of gold, it says: The heavens declare the Glory of God. The firmament sheweth His handiwork. And as the Apostle Paul makes clear this evidence of the invisible attributes of God leave all of us without excuse.

Of Minas and Men: more thoughts on Jesus and the Occupy Movement

by Tony Perkins

December 12, 2011

Thanks to theologian and author Scot McKnight for linking to my recent article on CNN and to the women at Her*menutics for tweeting on it. My article was related to Jesus’ command to occupy until he returns as contrasted with the nebulous goals and demands of the Occupy movement. The text I explored was Jesus’ parable of Ten Minas from Luke 19.

At the outset, it should be stated that the provocative title, “Jesus was a free marketer, not an Occupier” wasn’t chosen by me or my team at FRC. CNN changed the title which was originally “Jesus: Occupy Wall Street.” CNN’s title doesn’t capture the nature of my argument, which was simply that given the Biblical affirmation of work from Genesis through Revelation, Jesus’ use of a market-based system of remuneration in this parable is instructive. Unlike some of those currently “occupying” around the nation, Jesus did not condemn the distribution of wealth based on initiative and diligence.

During my recent appearance on CNN I reiterated that parables use common activity to express a spiritual message. In this particular parable, Jesus is telling his followers that the kingdom of God they believed he was going to set up on earth was not going to happen for a while, and he goes on to give instructions on what they should do with their lives until His return. To do this he draws a parallel to certain positive functions of the business world. He says, Occupy until I return. In the Greek the term actually means be engaged in business. This positive portrayal suggests that return based on honest effort is a just outcome.

Of course, this is in no way an endorsement of unethical or illegal activity that some on Wall Street and in business have engaged in. Instead, Jesus’ parable refutes the idea that we will or should all be given the same outcomes regardless of what we do

Friday, Scot McKnight shared via Twitter:

Read K Snodgrass, Stories with Intent. The parable has nothing to do with free enterprise but with kingdom responsibility.”

I agree with McKnight that the spiritual lesson here is primarily about kingdom responsibility. However, implicit in the parable is the idea that merit justifies greater reward a principle essential to free-market capitalism.

Where greed, graft, and abuse have distorted the marketplace and exploited the vulnerable, Christians should rightly be brokenhearted and pursue justice. Yet to advocate, however, a government system which redistributes wealth en masse as a response to the abuses of the few, would mean losing the benefits of free moral agency available in a free market. One need look no further than levels of charitable giving prevalent in America as compared to socialized Western Europe.

The way to remedy exploitation and injustice is not by destroying the free market but repairing those elements of it which need restoration. We cannot change human nature, but we can provide safeguards that restrain the excesses of human evil in the context of economic liberty —- a liberty that promotes prosperity, freedom, and the health and well-being of individuals, families, and society.

Conservatives and Christians Will Not Be Silenced on Homosexuality

by Tony Perkins

March 4, 2011

USA Today contributor Tom Krattenmaker (On gay rights, keep fighting or adapt? USA Today, February 14) wrote recently that we’ve reached a point on gay rights that is similar to that moment in a football game … when you know it’s over even though it’s not overclaiming that social conservatives have already lost on this issue.

It is true that social conservatives suffered a defeat in the vote to repeal the 1993 law against homosexual conduct in the military. (It is also significant that the repeal bill was forced through a lame-duck Congress using desperate maneuvers at the last minute, because they knew that the new Congressthe one that actually represents the contemporary political consensuswould never pass it.)

However, to say that social conservatives should surrender to the forced affirmation and celebration of homosexual conduct, because of a single legislative defeat, is like saying the Green Bay Packers should have forfeited the Super Bowl once the Steelers achieved a first down.

And to walk off the field because the far-left advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center throws the hate label at pro-family groups would be like retiring from the sport because one loud-mouthed fan of the opposing team yells, You stink!

The biggest trophy that homosexual activists now seek is the redefinition of marriage. Currently, only five states call same-sex unions marriages, while the other 45 all continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In what sport would a team leading by a score of 45-5 be losing? Furthermore, where the people have decided, 31 out of 31 states have upheld marriage as a male-female union. A 31-game winning streak rarely signals a losing season.

The rest of Krattenmakers argument is as weak as his football analogy, as it totters between ignorance and slander.

Krattenmaker claims that conservative warnings of a threat to religious liberty from same-sex marriage rest merely on fear that Christians do not get to dictate the law of the land. But it is nature (which says that it takes one man and one woman to procreate) and social science (which shows that children do best with a mother and father) that dictate that marriage should be the union of a man and a woman, not Christianity. Yet legalization of same-sex marriage would result in zero tolerance of those who believe in natural marriage, threatening the livelihoods of religious marriage counselors, adoption agencies and educational institutions.

Krattenmaker says that many Americans … live and work with gay people … [and] have family members … [and] people in their lives who really matter to them who are gay. There is no disputing this. He also urges adherence to a foundational Christian principle: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I agree whole-heartedly.

Heres how I would wish to be treated. First and foremost, I would want to be told the truth. Homosexuality is not an identity, as Krattenmaker describes itit is a behavior. There are abundant secular grounds to be concerned about homosexual conduct, such as the physical and mental health problems that are associated with it. These are not fabricated by social conservativesthey are well-documented in the medical literature and have even been summarized by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

As to theology, one newly-published book by a liberal theologian cannot overturn two thousand years of Christian sexual ethics. The Bible depicts a wide variety of sexual behaviors, from polygamy to incest to rape, because it is an honest book that shows the truth of human experience. But its references to homosexual conduct, in both the Old and New Testaments, condemn such conduct in every case.

If family members saw that I engaged in behavior that put my physical health at risk, I would expect them to warn me and urge me to stop. If my closest friends believed I was in a harmful relationship, I would want them to tell me, and help me escape it. And if I were falling into sin, I would want my brothers and sisters in Christ to call me to repentance.

What I would not want is to be told soothing falsehoodsthat I was born this way, I can never change and that all my problems are somebody elses fault. Such a message is comforting in the short run, but far from loving in the long run.

We will continue to speak the trutheven hard truths. We will continue to do so in lovethough love must sometimes be tough. There is one thing we will not dowe will not be silent.

Restoring the Cradle of Liberty

by Tony Perkins

January 27, 2011

[The following is a speech delivered by Tony Perkins to the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center’s “Hope Has a Name” Annual Benefit Banquet on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at the Bakersfield First Assembly of God Church, Bakersfield, CA]

As a nation and maybe its in our nature as Americans we like to be the first. Tiny Delaware crows about being the first state to ratify the Constitution. Today its more likely to be the first place you send your credit card payment.

And Bakersfield is no different. I understand that theres been a controversial competition going on between this city and the cities of Fresno and Merced about where the first leg of the states bullet train will be built. I dont know which side of that debate youre on, but wanting to be first just comes naturally to most of us. Were even here at the First Assembly of God.

Its the same way with mottoes. When I use the phrase, Cradle of Liberty, which city in America do you think of? For me, Boston comes to mind. Even a specific place in Boston — Faneuil Hall. Boston has a pretty good claim to the name, of course, dating to before the Revolution.

Yet firsts are not always good things. A few years ago I had the chance to walk most of the Freedom Trail while I was filming some videos in an effort to pass a state marriage amendment in Massachusetts. Massachusettss Supreme Court was the first state supreme court to strike down marriage.

Other competitors exist for the title, Cradle of Liberty. Some residents of New York City have launched an effort to have this designation. New Yorkers wanting to be first can you believe it? Then theres the city two hours southwest of New York, the home of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Continental Congress, and dozens of other landmarks.

You may remember the phrase Cradle of Liberty from Philadelphia because thats the name adopted by the Boy Scouts Council that lost its meeting place on city land because the Scouts will not admit homosexuals to serve as scout masters.

When you think about it, Philadelphia has a strong claim to be the intellectual birthplace of our nation a political Cradle of Liberty.

Well, we had some news from Philadelphia last week that tells us a great deal about the condition of our land and the state of our liberty. While we have made progress in advancing life, as long as abortionists can continue to carry out their deeds under the cover of government indifference, we remain a nation of broken cradles and shrunken liberty.

Im sure youve seen the headlines. At a place so wrongly named the, Womens Medical Society, a man I cant bring myself to call him a doctor stands accused of killing one of his patients and as many as hundreds of live-born infants. He is formally charged with murdering seven of these children.

Now, were gathered for a banquet this evening and for a celebration of Life of all that the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center does to bring light into the darkness and hope for mothers in need. Because of its work, Hope does indeed have a name.

So I wont dwell too long on the details of what took place in Philadelphia, and what the Grand Jury report says went on in Kermit Gosnells charnel house. And yes, that is their wording: charnel house. But it is important for us to understand the times in which we live and the challenges we must overcome.

Let me read you just one paragraph from the Grand Jurys 281-page report, which details how Gosnell operated by night to kill babies in the sixth and seventh month of pregnancy:

There remained, however, a final difficulty. When you perform late-term abortions by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Womens Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didnt call it that. He called it ensuring fetal demise. The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the babys neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that snipping.

Ladies and gentlemen, 38 years after the legal crime called Roe v. Wade, this is what has become of one of our Cradles of Liberty. What Gosnell stands accused of doing is nothing short of a total birth abortion. Liberty has become a barbaric license to crush the very cradle and with it our future.

As appalling as all this is, what is more appalling is the number of government officials who knew that this and other kinds of mayhem and fraud - were going on and did nothing about it.

Weve read the New Testament and know how the Lord looks upon the high and mighty who passed by the man who fell among robbers and was beaten within an inch of his life.

In Pennsylvania, a state ranked as having the some of the most pro-life laws in the nation, this house of horrors has operated without interference since 1993. Since 1993. Visitors to the Womens Medical Society reported it to health authorities many times, were told. Gosnell continued to kill human beings and shred all record of their births. No one followed up.

We must demand that officials in Pennsylvania get to the bottom of these crimes. Anyone who buried these citizen reports, just like those who buried or burned the bodies of babies, should be found, fired, and prosecuted under the law.

But ladies and gentlemen, taking these remedial steps will not get us to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is that we as a nation have forgotten our heritage. We have turned our back on God, the God who our Founders knew gave us Life and Liberty, as Thomas Jefferson said, at the same time. And from the beginning of time, in His holy Word, our God has told us that He values life from the instant of its creation in the womb. Why? Because each human being is made in His image.

Tonight I ask you to ponder with me, to reflect for a moment, what God means by a Cradle of Liberty.

I remember seeing a poster years ago that was all about celebrating life and welcoming children. It was not an anti-abortion poster but pro-lifers loved it. It was picture of an African-American boy, two or three years old, standing outside a shack of a house, a cap on his head, suspenders holding up his baggy pants, and a big smile on his face. His parents stood behind him on the porch of the shack, gazing down at their son. The yard and porch were littered with rusted farm tools. A few chickens pointed in all directions. And the caption said, I know Im a somebody, because God doesnt make junk.

This set me to thinking about the cradles in Scripture, and how, almost without fail, Gods message is to look past how the cradle is made, how its worth is measured in human terms, and instead to look inside that cradle to see His wondrous work and find the thing of lasting value.

I turned to the Book of Exodus, chapter 2, verses 1 through 3.

Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaohs daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. This is one of the Hebrew babies, she said. (NIV)

Papyrus, tar and pitch. You wont find a cradle like that at an upscale Baby Boutique. (Nor at the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center, either!) An observer from the Egyptian social register would look at this account of the infant Moses and call it a rags-to-riches story. We know it as something else a slavery- to-freedom story. Were papyrus, tar and pitch a fit resting place for the towering figure of history who would lead the children of Israel to the verge of the Promised Land? Maybe not by mans standard, but in Gods story, yes. Oh, definitely yes.

Flash forward with me to the most famous first resting place in all of human history. The hinge of history. It was a place of straw, crowded with stinking beasts, creviced to the night air. Some cradle.

But laid down there in that foul and unlit quarter was the King of Kings, the son of the living God, the author, lover and fulfiller of our deepest longings. Our truest liberties.

Was this a fit resting place for the figure who towers above all history? Would this impoverished family, far from home, have been seen by the worlds potentates, sitting in their marble palaces, as a couple worthy of their honor, much less their hosannas? Would this family whose son had no place to lay his head would they not have been candidates in the views of the rich and powerful to abandon that child on a windswept hillside? Or leave him to the tender mercies of a false doctor?

Think of poor Joseph. He who could have built a cradle of remarkable beauty had his shop and tools been close at hand, standing there in the dead of night feeling helpless because he had brought his pregnant wife to such a habitation.

Another husband, out on the road, failing to make a reservation.

Was this not a most unpromising beginning?

Yes, and yes again, in the human version of the cradle story. But not in Gods story, not in His perfect plan.

I have a final cradle to call to mind tonight. And rather than just ask you to visualize my meaning, Ive brought some pictures along with me. These are the smiling faces of the children the world knows as Snowflake Babies. Their earthly parents now are men and women who, with the help of the Nightlight Christian Adoptions, reclaimed them from Americas infertility centers.

The cradle of these children was, for months and even years, a stainless steel canister containing liquid nitrogen. Frozen as embryos, suspended, not developing, not dying, they waited. Wanted perhaps, but not now, not yet.

We know that the manger in the Nativity story is sometimes depicted as a cold and forbidding place. But swaddling clothes would be no help at all at the temperature of liquid nitrogen. How cold is that? A tad below negative 320 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, just a little below Minnesota.

We can ask ourselves, who could choose such a cradle? But that is not the proper question. The proper question is, How can God use such a cradle? And in the stories of Scripture and of Snowflake Babies, He has given us an answer of overwhelming warmth.

Tonight you can be a part of spreading the warmth of Gods love by partnering with the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center. Through their work and their love and their faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the last year alone, more than 100 babies have been rescued from abortion and their mothers have been rescued from the idea that no one cares.

You know, it was Martin Luther who referred to the Bible as the cradle wherein Christ is laid. What a beautiful image. What a comforting reality. Tonight lets rededicate ourselves to go, time and again, to that cradle, the font of liberty.

And let us pray that our nation will become once more a Cradle of true Liberty. Let us pray that every state and city will soon compete to be the first where the scourge of abortion is no more.

Let us strive to become, maybe for the first time in all of human history, a nation that knows what God can do with even the rudest of cradles. Let us make our real rags-to-riches story the salvation story of leaving the slavery of casual sex and abortion and finding the freedom of a God who does not make junk.

And as we pray let us also work to see the cradle of true liberty restored for all. There is no question in my mind that God is at work in our nation. The question is, will we join Him?

Let us join our hearts and hands in hope that, as Abraham Lincoln said, this nation, under God, will have a new birth of freedom.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.