Category archives: Religion & Culture

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of October 18)

by Family Research Council

October 23, 2020

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

1. Blog: A Christian Girl’s Response To a Christian Guy’s Struggle With Pornography

Studies continue to find that well over 70 percent of young men these days view pornography on a weekly basis. Porn teaches men that women are less than human and provides a false sense of intimacy. As Christians, we must honestly address the harm porn causes while also striving to understand this struggle and seek how to helpfully respond.

2. Blog: Christian Voting Myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

Do the majority of Americans actually decide who wins elections? In part 4 of our 4-part series dedicated to debunking common Christian voting myths, we unpack the myth: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

3. FREE Voter Guide: Text your zip code to 53445 for your FREE Voter Guide

Wouldn’t you like to know if someone on your ballot supports partial-birth abortion BEFORE you vote? What about a candidate that supports restricting gun rights or is endorsed by Bernie Sanders? FRC Action has the quickest voter education tool ever created. Simply Text your zip code to 53445 right now and you’ll get FRC Action’s FREE voter guide for the candidates on your ballot.

4. Washington Watch: Sen. Roy Blunt believes Barrett’s hearing helped highlight the sharp contrast between the parties

Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator from Missouri, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the fourth day of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings.

5. Washington WatchAndy McCarthy insists there’s a lot more to the Hunter Biden cover-up that includes China & Russia

Andy McCarthy, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Senior Fellow at the National Review Institute, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the significance of the Hunter Biden emails.

6. Washington Watch: Luke Rosiak exposes the shocking realities of what public schools are teaching in his new report

Luke Rosiak, investigative reporter for WhatAreTheyLearning.com, joined Tony Perkins to discuss what his investigative reporting has uncovered about what children are learning in public schools.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: Gender Reassignment

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Pastor Amado Huizar, journalist Abigail Shrier, Dr. Michelle Cretella and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) to discuss whether minors have the capacity to make life-altering decisions to change their gender.

 

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.com, our Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram account. Get the latest on what FRC is saying about the current issues of the day that impact the state of faith, family, and freedom, both domestically and abroad.

Family Research Council’s vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. Join us to learn about FRC’s work and see how you can help advance faith, family, and freedom.

Judging Amy: The Left’s Proclivity for Believing and Empowering Women Is Limited To Their Own

by Laura Grossberndt

October 20, 2020

Believe women.”

The slogan, born out of the #MeToo movement, was a common refrain during the Senate Judiciary hearings in September 2018 leading up to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States. Some even inserted an “all” to make it “Believe all women.” Essentially, the message of “Believe women” was to forsake bias and take women at their word.

During the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett last week, the “Believe women” refrain was absent. Maybe it shouldn’t have been. Not because any women were accusing the nominee of sexual misconduct (there are no such allegations against Barrett) but because time and again, the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary—as well as members of the media—refused to take the judge at her word.

Not only did they often refuse to believe Barrett, but numerous journalists and political pundits also violated a list of rules for reporting on female candidates for public office that a coalition of powerful, progressive women had sent to the news media ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s announcement of his vice-presidential running mate. The list of sexist pitfalls to avoid included:

  • Reporting on a woman’s ambition
  • Reporting on a woman’s likability
  • Reporting on a woman’s appearance or tone of voice
  • Reporting on doubts about a woman’s qualifications, despite her being equally or more qualified than her male peers

Each of the rules listed above were broken during the Barrett confirmation process. This not only reveals inconsistencies between the way the media chooses to report about men and women, but it also reveals inconsistencies between the way the ideological Left insists women ought to be treated and how some of their own number treat more moderate and conservative-minded women. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted in support of Barrett, alleging that the left “doesn’t like women that have their own mind” and said that Barrett is attacked and denigrated because she does not fit their idea of a “perfect woman.”

Here are five ways the ideological Left’s handling of the Barrett hearings exposes their hypocritical inclination to believe and empower only certain women—those who conform to their ideology.

#1: By Not Taking Her at Her Word

At confirmation hearings, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee question judicial nominees under oath. This is so the Senate can better fulfill its constitutional “advice and consent” role.

Confirmation hearings are meant to entail thorough questioning. But Judiciary Democrats seemed determined to disbelieve Judge Barrett from the start. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) implied that Barrett was dishonestly concealing her personal pro-life beliefs by not including two pro-life petitions that she had signed as a member of her church in her initial 1,800-page disclosure (she included these in her supplemental disclosures, which are common to have). Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) doubted whether anyone could ascertain Barrett’s intentions from her sworn statements at the hearings, saying “the only way for the American people to figure out how you might rule is to follow your record and follow the tracks.” Committee members repeatedly asked Barrett if she had any understandings or made any deals with the president, such as voting to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or overturn Roe v. Wade. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) implied Barrett might act as a pawn of the president when she asked whether the judge’s piece commenting on the ACA was a signal for Trump to pick her. Each of the numerous times these doubts were raised, Barrett stressed her judicial independence, personal integrity, and commitment to the rule of law:

I have not made any commitments or deals or anything like that. I’m not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. I’m just here to apply the law and adhere to the rule of law.

And again:

I have no mission and no agenda. Judges don’t have campaign promises.

Regarding her integrity as a judge:

I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people.

And:

I do assure you of my integrity.

Those who know Judge Barrett best professionally describe her as someone deserving of being taken at her word. Patricia O’Hara, professor emerita at Notre Dame Law School, introduced Barrett at the confirmation hearings, describing her as “fair and impartial.” On the final day of hearings, Laura Wolk, a former student of Barrett’s at Notre Dame and the first blind female Supreme Court clerk, testified on her mentor’s behalf, hailing her as eminently trustworthy: “She is a woman of her word. She means what she says, and she says what she means. When she promised to advocate for me, she commanded my trust.”

During Barrett’s hearings, it was clear that Judiciary Democrats either doubted the judge’s veracity under oath or simply didn’t want to believe her.

#2: By Implying She Doesn’t Have Her Own Mind

Opponents to Judge Barrett’s nomination have had the audacity to imply that she wouldn’t be making her own decisions on the bench. They seem to imagine her functioning as a sort of pawn or proxy “doing the bidding” of a man calling the shots (pick one: the president, her husband, her late mentor Antonin Scalia, the Pope). Insinuations of this nature are highly insulting, as they willfully ignore Barrett’s stellar qualifications as a judge, misunderstand her faith, and disbelieve her own statements under oath that she is intellectually independent and not beholden to anyone or anything but the Constitution. So much for “believing women.”

During day three of the confirmation hearings, Barrett acknowledged that she shares Justice’s Scalia’s judicial philosophy of originalism and textualism. However, she had to clarify multiple times that she should not be mistaken for a carbon copy of Scalia who would always rule in the same manner that he did. As she told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) (emphasis added):

I do share Justice Scalia’s approach to text, originalism and textualism. But in the litany of cases that you’ve just identified, the particular votes that he cast are a different question of whether I would agree with the way that he applied those principles in particular cases. And I’ve already said, and I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently or that I would just decide “let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past,” because I assure you I have my own mind. But everything that he said is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I were Justice Barrett. That was Justice Scalia. So, I share his philosophy, but I have never said that I would always reach the same outcome as he did.

Barrett intelligently responded to Judiciary Committee questioning for hours over the course of two days with absolutely no notes in front of her, an impressive feat that few people could match. Those doubting her knowledge, independence, and competence embarrass themselves.

#3: By Objecting To Her Career Success and Aspirations as “Ambition”

The Washington Post ran a story that described Judge Barrett as “unleashing her ambition,” while Slate disparaged her as “a shameless, cynical careerist who believes nobody can stop her.” The article continued, “what’s wrong with Barrett isn’t that she’s too pious, or that she’s submissive in her personal life. It’s that she’s bent on making herself one of the nine most powerful judges in the country.”

It’s hard to imagine such statements being made about a male nominee or a female nominee whose judicial philosophy and policy positions more closely align with the Left. Indeed, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been lauded for her “trailblazing career” and breaking the glass ceiling. It begs the question: why would it be wrong for any woman, especially one as qualified as Barrett, to aspire to sit on the Supreme Court? Furthermore, it’s unclear how Barrett fits the description of “ambitious” besides being so good at her job that someone else noticed and nominated her for the Supreme Court.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Judiciary Committee and a military veteran, tweeted in response to the Slate article:

This is the kind of sexist garbage women have been dealing with for far too long. Women can be anything we want to be: a farmer, a military officer, a Senator, and yes even a Supreme Court Justice.

#4: By Judging Her by Her Appearance (to a degree that wouldn’t be done to her male peers)

The clothes Barrett wore to her confirmation hearings were neat, professional, and stylish. They looked an awful lot like the clothes countless other professional women on Capitol Hill wear. A male nominee comparatively well-dressed would not have garnered the reactions Barrett’s choice of clothing elicited. And women the Left loves—like Michelle Obama—are praised for their fashion sense. But even something as innocuous as clothes was seized upon by Barrett’s critics as an opportunity to disparage her.

The Daily Beast published an entire article centered on the dress Judge Barrett wore on day one of the confirmation hearings (and no, it wasn’t about where to buy it or “how to copy her look”). The author interpreted Barrett’s choice of clothing as a calculated distraction, saying her dress “projected capability and congeniality” while she did “the bidding” of the president. Here we have a sexist one-two punch of hyper-focusing on a woman’s clothing choice and portraying her as a mindless sycophant, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

Barrett’s critics have embraced the demeaning caricature of her as a subservient “handmaiden” à la The Handmaid’s Tale. Former congresswoman Katie Hill thought she saw evidence of this false caricature represented in Barrett’s clothing, tweeting on day three of the hearings: “I hate to be someone who judges women on their clothes but I’m sorry ACB’s outfits are all way too handmaids-y.” Hill later deleted the tweet after negative response. Senator Ernst once again tweeted in Barrett’s defense:

The liberal left is attacking Judge Barrett in this way because they can’t attack her on her qualifications or character. No woman should have to deal with this kind of blatant sexism.

#5: By Questioning Her Ability To Parent and Do Her Job

Some on the ideological Left questioned whether Judge Barrett could handle being “a loving, present mom” and a Supreme Court justice. It’s highly doubtful that anyone has ever questioned a male Supreme Court nominee’s ability to be a loving, present father. If a more progressively-minded judge were being nominated for the Court, would the media express comparable concern for her school-aged children? It’s hard to say since Barrett is the first such mother of school-aged children to be nominated.

Slate described Barrett’s inspirational story as “a trap” to trick women into thinking that they “can have it all” and don’t need abortion in order to succeed. On the contrary, more women need to be shown that they shouldn’t have to abort their children in order to have a fulfilling life or career. Barrett might seem like a unicorn for now, but only because she’s blazing a path for other women to follow.

A True Role Model

Justice Ginsburg recalled being asked when she thought there would be enough women on the Supreme Court. Her reply? “When there are nine … There’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” This famous quote by Ginsburg has been hailed by her admirers and many on the ideological Left. Yet, when a conservative woman is nominated to the Court, it is clear that they would prefer a male judge who shares their ideology than a conservative female judge who has sworn that she will interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is highly qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Instead of the inconsequential—and, at times, sexist—things her critics have harped on, consider this list of accomplishments and accolades. In other words, things that truly matter:

  • First in her class at Notre Dame Law School, where she was executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review 
  • Clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Worked as an associate at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin and then at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C.
  • Former visiting associate professor and John M. Olin Fellow in Law at the George Washington University Law School
  • Former visiting associate professor of law at the University of Virginia
  • Professor of law at Notre Dame Law School
  • Member of the American Law Institute (ALI)
  • Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Endorsed by all of her fellow Notre Dame law professors in 2017
  • Endorsed by all of her fellow 1998 Supreme Court clerks in 2017
  • Rated by the American Bar Association as “well qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court

Patricia O’Hara of Notre Dame Law School summed up Barrett as a judge thus: “In her three years as a judge on the Seventh Circuit, her opinions have been characterized by the same quality as her scholarship — intellectual rigor, painstaking analysis, clarity of legal reasoning and writing. Accompanied by her deep commitment as a jurist to apply the law to the facts before her.”

Throughout her life and career, Barrett has exemplified what we should want in a Supreme Court nominee. What would this confirmation process have been like if everyone had spent less time analyzing her wardrobe and more time looking at her qualifications and taking her at her word? I guess we’ll never know.

Ideological progressives and the media talk a big talk of “believing women” and empowering them. But their treatment of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in recent days signals to more moderate and conservative-minded women that progressives only believe and empower certain women who fit their preferred mold, to the exclusion of others.

However, to the thousands of women who don’t fit this preferred mold, Judge Barrett truly is a role model.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of October 11)

by Family Research Council

October 16, 2020

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

1. Update: Barrett Gives Senate Cause for Confirm

In the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings for nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took turns testing the fitness of Judge Barrett to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. But for the Left, this wasn’t a sincere discussion about America’s highest court—it was a campaign rally. And a revealing one at that.

2. Blog: Christian Voting Myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

In an ideal world, you would always have the option to vote for really great people that you agree with in every respect. In the real world, however, sometimes there is no different option. What should you do then? In part 3 of our 4-part series dedicated to debunking common Christian voting myths we unpack the myth: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

3. Blog: Senate Democrats: Tone-Deaf on Religious Freedom

Throughout the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Democrats used Amy Coney Barrett as a political prop for their re-election campaigns. Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii turned in one of the worst performances on day three of the confirmation hearing—exhibiting a tone-deafness to religious freedom that was almost bizarre.

4. Washington Watch: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya warns that the government’s virus policies don’t fit with the virus science

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the Great Barrington Declaration he co-authored that calls for a herd immunity response to COVID-19.

5. Washington WatchAndrew Bostom warns against the dangerous side effects of the current, oppressive virus policies

Dr. Andrew Bostom, Epidemiologist and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Brown University, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the Great Barrington Declaration that calls for a herd immunity response to COVID-19.

6. Freedom Sunday broadcast

At Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, Tony joined Pastor Jack Hibbs in hosting Freedom Sunday, an in-person church service, to encourage the church to choose faith over fear.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: You Deserve to Know

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Bishop Larry Jackson, Dave Brat, Joseph Backholm, and Chad Connelly to take a look at what the Left isn’t telling you about its agenda for the courts, religious freedom, and the future of this country.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.com, our Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram account. Get the latest on what FRC is saying about the current issues of the day that impact the state of faith, family, and freedom, both domestically and abroad.

Family Research Council’s vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. Join us to learn about FRC’s work and see how you can help advance faith, family, and freedom.

Christian Voting Myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

by Joseph Backholm

October 14, 2020

This is the final part of a 4-part series debunking four common myths Christians use to not vote. Read myth #1: “One Vote Doesn’t Make a Difference”; myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote” and myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

It’s election season, and with every election comes polling. And with every poll comes the quest for 51 percent. After all, just one more vote than the other guy and I win. The fact that the person with the most votes wins elections is the reason most of us believe that the majority wins. But is it true? Not entirely. Here’s why.

In the United States, the population is 327 million people. But not everyone who lives in America can vote in elections. To be eligible to vote, you have to be a citizen, at least 18 years old, and, in most places, not a felon.

Out of 327 million people, only 253 million are eligible voters. But that doesn’t mean all of them are voters. In fact, of the 253 million eligible voters, only 153 million are registered voters. That means less than half the U.S. population is a registered voter. But that’s not all. Not every registered voter actually votes. In 2016, 137 million people voted, but they didn’t all vote in every race. Only 127 million votes were cast for president.

Put it all together, and we learn that 54 percent of eligible voters and less than 42 percent of Americans voted.

As a result, Donald Trump was elected president with just under 63 million votes. That’s right. The President of the United States was chosen by only 25 percent of eligible voters and less than 20 percent of the population. That doesn’t represent a majority of Americans, that represents a majority of Americans who voted.

This phenomenon is true in every election and in every race around the country. Even candidates who win comfortably aren’t getting support from a majority of their constituents.

In 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf won comfortably with over 57 percent of the vote, but he received the votes of only 22 percent of his constituents.  

The lack of participation in every election is magnified in close elections. In 2017, a Virginia House of Delegates race ended in a tie after more than 23,000 ballots were cast. Even one more person deciding to vote would have made a tremendous difference.

In 2016, a New Mexico State House seat was decided by two votes out of 14,000 ballots cast. Two votes made a big difference there.

In more local races, the drop-off rate increases, meaning that races are decided by a smaller number of total votes and a smaller percentage of the electorate. State legislative races are often decided by less than 10 percent of the people in a district. School board races are commonly decided by less than five percent of the people affected. Sometimes it’s closer to one percent.

So, yes. It’s true that the majority wins elections, it’s just not the whole story. Elections are not decided by a majority of a country, state, or city, they’re decided by a majority of those who actually participate.

According to George Barna, 61 percent of eligible evangelicals voted in the 2016 election. This means that almost 40 percent did not vote. In other words, four out of 10 people you go to church with do not vote when given the opportunity. 

Despite this, the church still has a disproportionate impact. According to Pew Research, in the 2018 election, white evangelicals were 26 percent of all voters despite being only 15 percent of the population. Imagine the impact the church could have if everyone did their part.  

The point is, participate. It isn’t hard but it is important. If you’re not registered to vote, get registered. If you don’t usually vote, fill out your ballot. Don’t worry that not everyone in your community agrees with you, that may not even matter. After all, it’s not the majority who wins, it’s the majority of those who actually show up. It’s our job to show up.

The Left’s (Real) Issue with Amy Coney Barrett

by Joseph Backholm

October 13, 2020

Those who oppose President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court understand that Trump is basically starting on third base. She was confirmed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals only three years ago, which means she was recently vetted and most of the Republicans have already voted to confirm her. Even Mitt Romney seems amiable. If Trump didn’t have the votes to confirm quickly, he wouldn’t have nominated her.

Furthermore, there’s a political risk in opposing her as aggressively as they might want. Mrs. Barrett is about to be the most famous soccer mom in America, and if they treat her the way they treated Brett Kavanaugh, that won’t be received well. They may not want to give Trump the chance to run to the defense of America’s most famous soccer mom. But the benefits of decency might be outweighed by the need for outrage. They might give Barrett the Kavanaugh treatment regardless of how it looks because their base may insist on it.

The base of the Democratic Party is very, very angry. They want to see their rage reflected in those they sent to Washington, D.C. If the Senate simply acknowledges that Barrett has the votes and decides to take the high road, that could be interpreted as weakness and an unwillingness to fight. So the dilemma for Senate Democrats is this: do we repeat the Kavanaugh spectacle and risk alienating suburban women, or do we act like adults and risk alienating our base?

Whatever degree of outrage we see, it is not artificial. Despite the politics, they aren’t pretending to be angry and it isn’t a game. They’re genuinely upset.

They’re upset about abortion. Whatever accusations may surface about the puppies she has tortured and the secret racism her adoption of black kids is clearly trying to hide, they aren’t really worried about puppies and racism. They’re terrified that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Roe v. Wade is to the Left what John 3:16 is to Christians; it’s the promise that no matter what happens in life, it’s not a permanent problem. The prospect of losing Roe is more than simply a difference in policy.

But that’s not all. They are also concerned that well into the future, people will be able to do and say things they object to. They are concerned that bakers and florists who prefer not to decorate for same-sex weddings will retain the freedom to choose. They are also concerned that Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United will allow people to say things they dislike without restrictions. The world they envision is “tolerant,” but they can’t create a “tolerant” world if people are allowed to do and say things they view as “intolerant.” If people retain the freedom to do and say things they dislike, the world they long to see can’t be realized. That world requires them to control the Supreme Court so that the First Amendment protects only the freedom of worship—not the freedom of religion—and only sometimes guarantees the freedom of speech, but definitely not when it’s “hate speech.”

But there’s a final point as well that makes the appointment of a young, devout Catholic “originalist” especially galling. It is foreseeable that Amy Coney Barrett would be on the Supreme Court for 30 years or more. This is troubling because many on the Left sincerely believe that people like her are on the verge of extinction. In their world, religious conservatives are a small and dwindling minority who will simply disappear with the passage of time.

When they sing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” they actually imagine it. They see growing secularization as proof that Lennon’s world with no countries, no wars, and no religions is just around the corner. In that world, everyone will be happy. In that world, people like Amy Coney Barrett are on the ash heap of history, not on the Supreme Court. Barrett isn’t just a Supreme Court nominee with a different judicial philosophy, she represents a renewal of ideas that the Left wants to believe are on the verge of extinction.

Politically, they understand that this nomination is likely to be confirmed, but they will not go quietly into that good night, because Amy Coney Barrett represents a value system they believe is the source of all wars, bigotry, and substance abuse issues in the LGBT community. They believe she will cause careers to be ruined by unwanted pregnancies and deaths from back-alley abortions. They believe it is a matter of life and death—that’s why they will act like it’s a matter of life and death.

Christian Voting Myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

by Joseph Backholm

October 12, 2020

This is part 3 of a 4-part series debunking four common myths Christians use to not vote. Read myth #1: “One Vote Doesn’t Make a Difference”myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”; and myth #4 “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

In an ideal world, you would always have the option to vote for really great people that you agree with in every respect. In the real world, however, your ballot may give you choices that make you feel less like you’re choosing someone to represent your values and more like you are choosing a cancer treatment. In that situation, what you want most is a different option. But sometimes there is no different option. What should you do then?

For a lot of people, the answer is “nothing.” Instead of voting, they choose to be absent from the process, absolve themselves of responsibility, and blame God for allowing it to come to this.

One reason it’s sometimes difficult to vote is because we want to support someone without reservation. On social media, we “like” people that we care about, things that makes us laugh, or ideas that we agree with. Our “like” is our stamp of approval. If we only like it a little bit, we’re likely to move on to something else.

There’s a temptation to treat our ballot the same way. If we can’t give unqualified support, we are tempted to abstain and wait for something better. But voting is not like social media. It’s more like filling a job vacancy. The job has to be filled and the Constitution has dictated the timeline. The fact that you haven’t found the ideal candidate may be frustrating, but it is not relevant to the fact that the job is going to be filled.

Your desire to find someone you can give unqualified support to is noted but not especially helpful under the circumstances. In that situation, it may be more helpful to think less about good and bad and more about better or worse. Is that possible? Maybe.

Character always matters, but if a completely virtuous person is not one of your choices, maybe the policies represented by one candidate are more virtuous than the policies of the other candidates. Is one candidate working on behalf of the abortion industry while the other works to defend life? Does one candidate defend conscience rights while the other supports suing nuns and churches that live out their faith? Does one candidate want parents involved in their child’s education and health care decisions while the other wants the state to interfere with parental rights? In a situation where all the candidates are flawed, we might be able to find clarity if we allow ourselves to think less about people involved and more about policies that will be affected.

In addition, if there is no “best candidate,” it may be helpful to think about the “best team.” No politician works alone. Most candidates are part of a political party, and all candidates have donors and supporters. Executive offices, like mayors, governors, and presidents also appoint cabinet members, judges, ambassadors, and thousands of other positions that affect how government operates.

Which candidate, for political reasons, is going to be pressured more often to do things you like and which candidate is going to face pressure to do things you won’t like? If the two foremen are not people you especially care for, is there a reason to prefer one crew over another?

Though it sometimes seems the end is near, we do still live on earth and that means we will be consistently faced with imperfect choices. It would be nice if the choice was always clearly good or evil, but it’s not. Sometimes the choice is better or worse, and if you aren’t willing to choose better, you may find yourself stuck with worse.

Read myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of October 4)

by Family Research Council

October 9, 2020

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

1. Update: Biden Staffer on SCOTUS: Christians Need Not Apply

In a recent eye-opening exchange, one of the Biden campaign staffers seemed appalled that Amy Coney Barrett’s resume includes a stint as a trustee of an Indiana Catholic school. The scandal, at least to liberals, isn’t that the school is Catholic—but that it upholds Catholic beliefs.

2. Blog: Christian Voting Myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”

Anyone who has spent 15 minutes around a church during election season has heard someone say something to the likes of, “Don’t worry about the election. It doesn’t really matter what happens because God is in control.” In part 2 of our 4-part series dedicated to debunking common Christian voting myths we unpack the myth: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote.”

3. Publication: Why Amy Coney Barrett Should Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court

For the past 50 years, the Supreme Court has increasingly stepped outside of its limited role in our constitutional order and amassed great power for itself at the expense of the people. By now, the Court has almost become an unchallengeable, unreviewable super-legislature. For this reason, it is all the more important to appoint Supreme Court justices who believe in separation of powers.

4. Resource: Pray Vote Stand Voter Guides

In this important season for our nation, it is imperative as Christians that we seek the Lord first as we look to vote for biblical values and stand for truth. Make sure this election season you know where the candidates on your ballot stand on the issues that matter to you. Check out FRC Action’s voter guides to be “in the know.”

5. Washington Watch: Midland Mayor Patrick Payton believes Bob Fu’s effectiveness on China is what’s driving the protests

Patrick Payton, Mayor of Midland, Texas, joined Tony Perkins to discuss his efforts to stand up to those harassing Bob Fu, the president of China Aid and FRC’s Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom.

6. Washington WatchTyler O’Neil wonders when mainstream religious beliefs will become ‘disqualifiers’ for public office

Tyler O’Neil, Senior Editor of PJ Media, joined Tony Perkins to discuss a Joe Biden staffer saying traditional religious beliefs should be ‘taboo’ and ‘disqualifiers’ for public office.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: Education

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Pastor Brad Jurkovich, Maria Keffler, Mary Rice Hasson, and Jonathan Cahn to take a look at the presidential candidates’ education plans and what they mean for the future of school choice, sex education, religious schools, privacy, American history, and even team sports.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.com, our Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram account. Get the latest on what FRC is saying about the current issues of the day that impact the state of faith, family, and freedom, both domestically and abroad.

Family Research Council’s vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. Join us to learn about FRC’s work and see how you can help advance faith, family, and freedom.

Who Can We Look to as Examples of Christian Citizenship?

by Molly Carman

October 9, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is the final part of a 6-part series. Read part 1part 2part 3, part 4, and part 5.

Now that we have an understanding of what good Christian citizenship is, let’s consider the good examples set by individuals who lived for the glory of God and loved their neighbors well. Isaac Newton once attributed his scientific success to “standing on the shoulders of giants” who had gone before him. Likewise, we can press on toward being better citizens because others have already laid down a strong foundation for us to build upon.

In the first installment of this series on citizenship, the question was posed, “What does it mean to be a Christian citizen?” A biblical example of godly citizenship is Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives described in the book of Exodus. The pharaoh who had enslaved the children of Israel feared an uprising, so to reduce the male population, he commanded Shiphrah and Puah to kill any sons born to the Hebrews. Because “the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Exodus 1:17), the Lord blessed them for their faithfulness. The women modeled good citizenship because they prioritized the kingdom of heaven over their citizenship of Egypt while seeking the well-being of their neighbors.

The second installment of this series talked about discerning the differences between good and bad citizenship, and explained why being a good citizen of heaven sometimes necessitates being a “bad” citizen of earth. In another biblical example, Esther risked her life to save her people from mass genocide. Esther was the queen of Persia, and her identity as a Jew was not public. Rather than seek her own safety, however, she chose to consider the well-being of others and went to the king uninvited to plead for the lives of her people, the Jews. Her selfless act made her a good citizen of heaven, despite temporarily making her a “bad” citizen of Persia.

The third installment of this series explained why good citizens are essential for any community to flourish and why good citizenship often requires courage and determination to uphold the truth. During World War II, the Nazis began an indoctrination program called Hitler’s Youth. However, some young people resisted Nazi indoctrination. One such young woman was Sophie Scholl (pictured above). She took a stand against the regime and gave her life at the age of 22 because she dared to open the eyes of her peers with her words. We need good citizens like Sophie, who are willing to risk everything for the truth.

The fourth installment of this series emphasized the importance of raising and discipling good citizens. Many Christians are familiar with the Wesley brothers, John and Charles. Their mother, Susanna Wesley, is an excellent model of faithful discipleship. Susanna had 19 children, half of whom did not live to adulthood, due to sickness, accidents, and a house fire. Her husband was often away traveling for the church, so most of the child-rearing responsibilities fell to Susanna. She was determined to disciple her children in the Lord and lead them in family worship, reading and memorizing Scripture, and daily prayer. Her dedication to her children impacted countless people and communities, as she successfully raised good Christian citizens who would grow up to change the world.

The fifth installment of this series discussed whether it is appropriate for Christians to have patriotic loyalties for their earthly nations. The apostle Paul wrestled with this when he said, “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:4b-7). Paul was a proud Hebrew and Jew. There was nothing wrong with feeling an affection for and delight in his heritage, but Paul recognized that he must boast in what Christ has done first.

There are countless more historical examples of individuals who have balanced good citizenship to earthly kingdoms and the kingdom of heaven. May we look to their example and aspire to be good citizens ourselves. This world is not our permanent home; we are citizens of heaven. But we must steward our time on earth well and consider the work that God has for us to do. May we all be good citizens who are engaged in this fall’s elections and our communities year-round. Whatever we do, in word or deed, we should do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17).

Christian Voting Myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”

by Joseph Backholm

October 8, 2020

This is part 2 of a 4-part series debunking four common myths Christians use to not vote. Read myth #1: “One Vote Doesn’t Make a Difference”myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?” and myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

Anyone who has spent 15 minutes around a church during election season has heard someone say some version of the following: “Don’t worry about the election. It doesn’t really matter what happens because God is always in charge anyways.”

It’s true, of course, that God is always in charge. Neither human frailty nor human stupidity threaten God’s plan for the world. He will accomplish His plan despite us. But it isn’t logical to conclude that because God is sovereign, we don’t have to care about what happens in government. Here’s why. 

The freedom we enjoy in America is unusual. Even if you’re not a political activist, you’re probably thankful that life in the United States is different than life in places like Venezuela or North Korea. It’s not just different, it’s better. We can own property, say stupid things online about our government without fear of the police arresting us for it, and even help determine who our government is.  

These freedoms are so normal for Americans that we tend to take them for granted, but they were unimaginable for generations past. Billions of people have lived and died under a monarchy, oligarchy, or some form of dictatorship. That’s not only true of the past, it’s true of the present. Most people alive in the world right now are not free in the way Americans understand freedom.  

Those of us who have freedom and prosperity probably didn’t do anything to earn it. We inherited it. We’re political trust fund babies. Though we didn’t do anything to get it, we are responsible for what we do with it. To whom much is given, much is required. That’s why indifference isn’t an option. The American form of government is a gift, and we owe it to those who gave us that gift to treat it with appropriate respect and appreciation. One way we do that is by taking care of it.

A republican form of government, like everything in our lives, requires constant maintenance. If you decide to never mow your lawn again, never replace the breaks on your car, or never fix the leak in your roof, God will still be in charge and He will still accomplish His purpose. Nothing about neglecting adult responsibilities threatens God’s sovereignty. But we don’t decline to fix our roof because God is sovereign, nor is God’s sovereignty the reason we would fix it. We fix the roof as an act of stewardship for the good gift of a house that God has given us and as an act of service to the people in our family who live in the house. So it is with governments.

Educating ourselves, voting, and running for office are forms of civic maintenance. They feel like chores because in a real sense, they are chores. They’re civic chores and they’re a privilege. We shouldn’t complain about our civic duties any more than we should complain about the maintenance costs on our private fleet of jets. Some problems aren’t problems, they’re blessings. It is a privilege to be able to query which candidate is most tolerable. At least we get to have an opinion. Doing the work necessary to keep the luxury items God has given us in good condition does not show a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty, it shows good stewardship of what He has given to us and kindness to our neighbors.

After all, well maintained governments make life better for everyone. Ideas are not neutral. All ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. When we allow bad ideas to take root in government, people get hurt. Engagement in our government is not just a way to fulfill a civic duty, it’s a chance to make life tangibly better for other people. Babies who would otherwise die get to live. People who would otherwise be punished for speaking the truth get to speak. Businesses that would otherwise be shut down can flourish. Parents who would otherwise lose the right to direct the upbringing of their children get to have the final say. Communities that would otherwise be unsafe are able to thrive. Justice exists where it didn’t before. Some political choices are purely a matter of opinion—chocolate or vanilla? But sometimes they’re a matter of life and death.

It’s true that God is in charge and we can trust Him, even when things are hard. It is also comforting to know that God will restore all things in His time, even if something bad happens. But that’s no excuse for indifference. God has placed us on earth to be His hands and feet in a broken world. Our efforts to make the world better by living out our beliefs are not a sign of misplaced trust but a recognition of who He made us to be.

Read myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

What Does it Mean to be Both a Christian Citizen and a Patriot?

by Molly Carman

October 7, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is part 5. Read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Patriotism is defined as devotion and support for one’s nation or homeland. This national loyalty can result from a variety of factors, such as a person’s ethnic, cultural, political, or historical background. While a love of country can be a positive trait, we must remember that Christians are ultimately citizens of heaven; our earthly nations are not eternal. Therefore, we must recognize the line between appropriate, God-honoring patriotism of our earthly nations and idolatry.

Both extreme Christian perspectives on citizenship, previously discussed in this series, have distinct attitudes on patriotism.

According to the first, which views loyalty to the state as a primary good, patriotism is vital to good citizenship because it strengthens national unity and encourages a positive form of nationalism. Therefore, according to this view, anyone who is not patriotic is not a good citizen.

The second extreme perspective views the integration of religion and political power as the ideal government and sees patriotism as only good if (and only if) the state is guided by Christians. Those who hold to this view see patriotism for a secular or pluralist country as not good.

The first extreme is correct that patriotism strengthens national unity. The second extreme is also correct that we should support Christian leaders, values, and ideals. However, as we have discussed previously, the basic premises these two perspectives are founded upon are flawed. Both regard earthly kingdoms more highly than they ought. We must remember that we are still living with the consequences of sin in a fallen world; no earthly nation is perfect or can save us. Nations are temporal, and we must be careful not to put our ultimate hope in our governing authorities.

We must be careful that our patriotism does not become overzealous and slide into a type of nationalism that willfully defends one’s country even when it is in the wrong. Extreme nationalism can also lead to more insidious beliefs, such as thinking one’s countrymen are genetically superior to all others. This perspective led numerous countries throughout history to seek the eradication of different people groups in an effort to “purify” their race or country. This happened within the past century in Turkey with the Armenian genocide and in Germany with the Holocaust. It is happening today with the Uyghurs in China.

Christians must keep two things in mind in regard to patriotism.

First, we are ambassadors of Christ before we are ambassadors of any other country. Christians have a duty to represent Christ and the kingdom of heaven while on earth. As Paul reminded the church in Corinth, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). Everywhere Christians go on earth, we represent the kingdom of God.

Second, we are called to be involved in our countries and communities. It might seem godly to completely reject earthly patriotism and only show affection and loyalty to the kingdom of heaven. But as we discussed in the part 3 of this series, we ought to seek the welfare of the place where God has situated us and pray on its behalf. Love of neighbor should stir up godly affection for one’s country that seeks its good rather than idolizing it. We are Christians before we are Americans, but that does not mean it is wrong to be proud of being American.

By engaging politically, contributing to the economy, upholding justice, raising a new generation that fears God, and appointing leaders who will uphold godly values and virtues, we represent Christ and promote the kingdom of heaven by being involved in our nation. As we go to the polls to vote this fall, may we vote for a patriot that does not place their ultimate hope in our nation, but loves our nation enough to defend its God-given constitutional freedoms.

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