Tag archives: Government

Pro-Life Title X Rule Upheld, For Now

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Mary Jayne Caum

June 21, 2019

On a recent humid June day in the nation’s capital, the debate over President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule governing the Title X Family Planning Program heated up. Led by Chairwoman Diane Degette (D-Colo.), the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to promote the continued relationship between these family planning funds and the abortion industry. Dr. Diane Foley from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defended the Protect Life Rule against attacks that this rule change will limit a woman’s ability to receive proper family planning services, by ensuring that doctors can continue to provide non-directive counseling on all healthcare options as the statute lays out.

As a key pro-life issue for the Family Research Council, we submitted a letter to the record outlining specifically how this final rule draws a clear line between family planning funds and the abortion industry without reducing the quality of care for each patient.

Dr. Foley went even further to say that the Protect Life Rule will provide a broader array of family planning services by encouraging innovative approaches for care in rural communities and removing the abortion referral requirement, thus allowing faith-based providers to apply for Title X grants, as outlined in our brief on the Protect Life Rule. Although Dr. Foley continually reminded the subcommittee that the Title X statute specifically states abortion cannot be used as a method of family planning, Democrat Members could only see the issue through the lens of abortion access. Rep. Jan Schakowky (D-Ill.) put it most bluntly when she said, “This is about abortion, this is about trying to limit women from having their full reproductive rights.”

Within 24 hours of the subcommittee hearing on Title X, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted HHS’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction, which would allow the Protect Life Rule to go into effect until the lawsuit is resolved. While this Order does not decide the fate of the Protect Life Rule, the Court’s Order was encouraging. Typically, the 9th Circuit has been critical of the Trump administration’s policies. As exemplified by the lower courts granting preliminary injunctions to halt the implementation of the Protect Life Rule, courts will often ignore the law to advance a political agenda.

Surprisingly, the 9th Circuit lifted the nationwide preliminary injunction and insisted that delaying the implementation of the Protect Life Rule would be detrimental to both HHS and the American public. Listening to the concerns expressed by HHS, the Court feared that if the preliminary injunctions remained in place, the law would be violated and taxpayer money would fund abortions. Moreover, the Court concluded that HHS would likely be victorious in this lawsuit.

Additionally, the Court reaffirmed the validity of Rust v. Sullivan (a Supreme Court case which upheld regulations nearly identical to the Protect Life Rule). Furthermore, the Court emphasized that the restrictions on abortion referrals does not violate the non-directive counseling requirement. Although Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to claim the Protect Life Rule violates existing law, the Order from the 9th Circuit states otherwise. Hopefully, this temporary win for the Protect Life Rule will be a sign of what is to come from the ongoing legal battle.

Connor Semelsberger is Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council. Mary Jayne Caum is a Policy intern at Family Research Council.

Personal Responsibility and Public Service Bring Glory to God

by Alyson Gritter

April 22, 2019

Frequently as an intern in Washington, D.C., I have had a few moments to stand in awe of the towering figure of the Washington Monument. On any given day, gazing up at such a remarkable sight, I am reminded of a fact that not many in D.C., let alone America, know. What exactly is at the top of the monument and why is it so significant to America today?

According to the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Monument stands 555-feet high, making it the tallest structure in the area. In 1884, when the monument was finished, the Latin words Laus Deo, which mean “Praise be to God” or “God be praised,” were engraved on the east face of the aluminum cap at the top of the monument. Thus, every morning, when the sun rose, the first ray of light to touch D.C. landed on this engraving. The original builders wanted this to symbolize God being given the glory as the first thing to occur every morning. It is a beautiful piece of history and an even more powerful testament to what God has done for this nation. Unfortunately, the story of this gorgeous engraving doesn’t end here.

In 1885, a lightning protection system (or collar) was installed over the top part of the original cap. Though it protected the monument, it rubbed off the original engraving, rendering the Latin words illegible. In 1934, the collar was restored, but the original engravings were not included in the restoration project. Instead, a new engraving was added to the cap. The top of the monument now reads: “Repaired, 1934, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.” This wording was placed directly on top of the original east side engraving Laus Deo.

This story is a fitting illustration of how many leaders in our government operate today—how they work to obscure the Framers’ original intent to honor and glorify God. Similar to how the words Laus Deo were covered over on the top of the Washington Monument, forces are at work in our government to erode, destroy, and erase the Christian heritage of our nation. So many of us today, instead of first giving the glory to God for everything we have, lean on our own “power” and “authority.”

We have done this in two ways. First, we as citizens are overly relying on the government for assistance and guidance to prosper. Former Senator Jim DeMint said it best: “Over the last 50 years, American attitudes have shifted from cherishing self-sufficiency and personal responsibility to craving cradle-to-grave security ‘guaranteed’ by government.” We are increasingly looking to the government to provide all our needs and even our desires, like free college for all. According to Heritage’s Index of Dependence on Government, in 2013, 70 percent of government spending went to dependency programs.

Too many millennials are buying into a narrative of a socialist utopia where the government can and should supply all our needs. In contrast, Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Secondly, many of our leaders first seek power instead of surrender. Many lawmakers are wanting to be the solution to our problems instead of pointing us to the only One who can solve our problems. It seems that their desire to be a “functional savior” is fueling their actions so that citizens increasingly rely on them in order to bolster their own image in the culture. Many of our political leaders seem to desire power and glory over truly effective public service.

A few recent examples of this include former President Obama trying to take the credit for economic gains that happened after he left office, and Senator Cory Booker using his infamous, self-anointed “Spartacus moment” to launch momentum for his 2020 presidential campaign. It is a common theme in today’s politics—“How can I further my image and my mission?” instead of “How can I get on board with God’s mission?”

What America needs today is citizens who strive for personal responsibility and service to others and leaders who are looking first to serve, to imbibe the spirit expressed in the faded, worn out words of the Washington Monument—Laus Deo. We need leaders who serve God (Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:24; Hebrews 9:14) and their fellow citizens (Luke 6:38; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10). Jesus himself said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). We as citizens need to renew our commitment to being responsible for ourselves but also to serve those in need, and our government officials need to rediscover their true vocation: to be public servants.

Alyson Gritter served as an intern at Family Research Council.

Better a Meal of Vegetables Where There is Love

by Family Research Council

November 28, 2012

Holiday season is upon us. Salvation Army ringers with their donation kettles stand outside our stores and entice generous holiday shoppers to think about those who are less fortunate. Charitable actions occur around this country every day in myriad different ways. But, at least for residents of New York City this holiday season, charity will no longer look like food donations.

In March of this year, Mayor Bloomberg banned food donations to the city’s shelters that serve New York City’s large homeless population. This ban has gotten attention again, after New York City resources have been stretched thin by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The reason for this ban was not prompted by instances of food poisoning or culinary foul play, but rather because Mayor Bloomberg says that the City can’t properly assess salt, fiber and fat content in the donated food, so they don’t know if the homeless are getting optimal levels of nutrition.

No exceptions to the strict ban are given, not even for donation centers with a healthy track record such as Ohab Zedek, an Upper West Side Orthodox congregation which has donated freshly cooked, nutrient rich foods left over from synagogue events for over ten years, a practice common among houses of worship in the city.

Leaving aside the question of whether we really need the government to require labeling to assess the content of our foods, we face the following question: should government regulation not only discourage, but in fact prohibit individual (or collective) charity?

What is especially offensive is the subtext here: that only the government is able to adequately know and then provide for the needs within a community. But who is closer to the needs of the homeless in a city? Is it possible that someone sitting behind a desk issuing food regulations can better know their needs than an individual who wants to help—and indeed walks past the homeless on the street every day?

This policy by Mayor Bloomberg is another brush stroke in the picture being painted of a world in which people are not even permitted to take responsibility for their food choices, either in how they give, or in what they take (see, ban on super size sodas). And as with many government policies, it may be the poor that will be hurt by the very policies that are intended to help.

When charitable actions are banned, how much interaction between the homeless and the other residents of New York City will occur? If people are not allowed to give, they have less incentive to pay attention to those in need. And the homeless will no longer have the chance to feel known and cared about by specific individuals or groups. As government over-regulates, it squelches the desire to give. It, additionally, removes the opportunity to love one’s less fortunate neighbor. Even if the government steps in and takes up the slack so an absence of food may be filled, that doesn’t solve the whole problem because government cannot love. When you replace human charity and altruism with rules, society becomes even more fragmented and government dependent.

Of course this isn’t the end of the world. There are other forms of charity that haven’t yet been banned. But it is another step taken by the government protectors that hinder something as basic as human relationship and fellowship.Turkeyon an unlabeled plate, with green beans with a sodium content has not been measured, but has been handed out with love… well, it sounds pretty good to me.

Why Is God Such a Big Deal?

by Family Research Council

September 21, 2012

There has been much talk regarding the use of God in the major party platforms. One simple word contributed to a major firestorm at the Democratic convention. In a recent column Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar, said he wished for a more humble expression of faith and less use of God as a prop. He calls our Constitution godless, in support of His argument that God should not be in the party platforms.

So is he right? Well perhaps partly in that we should not use God as a prop for anything but as the foundation for everything. To call our Constitution godless simply because God is not mentioned would be like calling the Book of Esther in the Scriptures godless because God is not mentioned. Principles come from somewhere. From whom did the Founders think we receive the blessings of liberty? If being godly meant simply referring to God, then we are indeed a very godly nation. But I think we all know it goes a lot deeper.

No matter how hard one tries to remain secular, God seems to come up in American culture. From health care to football (courtesy of Tim Tebow) God pops up in discussion. Recognizing that we are subject to the will and Laws of Nature and Natures God is a very humble position to take. It is not merely using God as a prop but recognizing that He is the foundation of all order in the Universe. If our rights and potential come from God then we have immense value. If they come from government they can be ignored and destroyed. If they come from God they should be recognized and protected. God must be recognized or all we have held dear for so long inAmericais potentially up for debate. If the Declaration was incorrect in saying the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident rights from God endowed on every man, then much is at stake. What, you ask? Lets look.

If God is taken out of the equation then one could make a utilitarian argument for killing those who were disabled or simply unproductive. Instead of debating how to help the poor and infirm, we could be debating how to dispose of them because of cost and inconvenience. One could limit the pursuit of happiness by restricting religious liberty and dictating to people what they should believe and how to apply that belief. Even career choice could be limited, as could the type of car, or the size of the soda.

And lest you doubt that God plays the critical role in these things or that they could not occur in a modern society, I offer some thoughts. In the debate over abortion, those who dont answer the fundamental question, when does life begin? are left to talk about the cost to the mother of raising an unwanted baby, of a womans choice, or of privacy. Of course, these all become secondary concerns if God grants a baby a right to life from conception and it is an inalienable right. In godless regimes such asNorth KoreaandChinayou have the untold slaughter of many through forced abortions, prison camp killings, and general government purges. All of this in the name of some greater good espoused by the ruler or ruling party. In this country, people like Margaret Sanger argued that some should be forcibly sterilized if they had bad blood lines. If God doesnt grant liberty then people are bound to be ruled by the government and the changing views its members espouse. The recent health care law passed by Congress and the President told many organizations who believe that abortion and contraception are wrong that they had to believe something else because the government said so. Cases have come up repeatedly about whether prayers and religious symbols should be allowed in the public square. Even the definition of marriage can be changed by a few members of a court.

Why is government so important when it comes to the rights of man? Because of a less quoted phrase in the Declaration after the statements on inalienable rights, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men. The government exists to protect us from those who would infringe on our God-given rights and to promote a culture that praises good things. Im thankful we still care about having God in our party platforms, but even more importantly may He be at the heart of our great Republic and the policies we promote. The moment a government forgets God is the moment it becomes god. And that is a scary thought.

Hard But Necessary Choices in 2012

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 22, 2011

It is human nature to want to avoid hard choices, and to get angry with those who would compel us to make them.

In a new piece in Forbes, Bill Frezza wisely observes that the era of what he calls “both/and” is drawing to a crashing close: “The era of both/and was a magical time when the elected representatives running city, state, and national governments never had to make hard choices. To be sure, partisanship wasnt eliminated, but political compromise could always be found. This allowed incumbent politicians from both parties to deliver enough goodies to their constituents to assure themselves reelection.”

Whenever a politician suggests that people be allowed to invest some of their Social Security Trust Fund money into private accounts, or that private sector solutions to health care might be preferable to federally-directed ones (which solve nothing, ultimately, except the unemployment of eager bureaucrats), or that Washingtons menagerie of departments, programs, agencies, and line items be streamlined into some form of reasonable coherence, he is vilified as heartless, a tool of big business, a mendacious and reactionary primitive.

Re-election is a politicians stock in trade. To be a statesman, one must have an ample quantity of moral courage and the wisdom to know when to act boldly. Thus, given that few politicians have the strength and insight to behave in a statesmanlike way, we can anticipate that desirable change will be at best incremental. And, despite our protestations, we want it that way.

We want governments benefits without its costs. We want its protections without its intrusions. We want its presence in our need and its exclusion in our perceived abundance. We are kidding ourselves, which is to say we are human.

As Frezza argues, we are now at the beginning of an era in which refusing to make hard choices is no longer possible:

… in bad economic times tax revenue craters, leaving massive shortfalls as government spending not only fails to decline alongside revenues, but goes up to pay for safety net expenses, which more people tap into as they are left out of work. This has happened both in California and at the federal level. Even more threatening than these oscillations is the fact that the underlying trend line in federal revenue has gone flat as federal spending entered an unprecedented period of exponential growth. To top it off, the Baby Boomer generation has started its massive wave of retirements, calling in the chits on those unfunded entitlement liabilities. And just when you thought things couldnt get any worse, GDP growth hit its deepest and broadest rut since the 1930s, where it remains mired for the foreseeable future.

We resent it when policymakers, speaking to us like adults, offer necessary and painful choices about policy priorities. Thats why we have long lived in an era of self-delusion and rewarded those who have given it to us.

We cannot abort our progeny and anticipate economic growth. We cannot experience liberty, in its fullness, if we disavow a willingness to fail. We cannot corrode the family unit through divorce, cohabitation, promiscuity, and homosexual unions and say we care about our childrens future. We cannot secularize our society without destroying the unspoken Judeo-Christian moral consensus that always has been the firm foundation of our republic.

It doesnt take a Ph.D. in economics to understand that borrowing from the future will increasingly become not just inadvisable but outright impossible. The future has arrived, and it isnt pretty, Frezza says. He is right.

Americans have long been a brave people. We like to talk about the heroic conduct of our armed forces, and well we should. But just as our men and women in uniform show courage in their sphere, can we show it in ours? It is now time for us to see if we can still summon the personal virtue and political courage without which no economy, or nation, can long endure.

This will mean hard choices. Let us steel ourselves to them, with the concurrent commitment that through the non-governmental institutions of family, church, synagogue, not-for-profit charities, professional associations and small and large corporate enterprise, we will address the needs our sagging Leviathan cannot.

At the FDR Memorial: Diluted? Or Deluded?

by Robert Morrison

November 4, 2011

The comparisons between Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt began even before our 44th president had taken the oath. In late 2008, TIME magazine portrayed president-elect Obama as FDR on its cover. The wish was father to the thought. Mr. Obama encouraged such dreams from his political father. He did not look to Bill Clinton as a model. And certainly no one would take Jimmy Carter as a mentor. No one, that is, who wanted to have a successful presidency.

Barack Obama might have wanted to offer Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson as a role model. At least, Johnsons signing of historic Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation could be commended. But LBJ led us into the morass of Vietnam. After four bloody years in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Johnson could give no convincing reasons why the U.S. should prevail there. Hey! Hey, LBJ! How many kids have you killed today, chanted anti-war protesters then. The parents of todays Occupy Wall Streeters drove Johnson from office in defeat and disgrace. Scratch Johnson.

That leaves John F. Kennedy as the Democratic hero to whom Barack Obama might look for inspiration. Well, maybe not. JFK said we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Oops! Thats not the kind of martial music Obamas Peace Caucus-goers could march to. And JFK took us to the Moon. President Obamas NASA chief thinks his Mission One is to make Muslims feel good about themselves. Also, Jack Kennedy cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, arguing that a rising tide lifts all boats. That wouldnt do for a socialist program of spreading the wealth around.

Pursuing far-left policies in office has left Obamas partisans with no role model except FDR. Roosevelt, to be sure, was the longest-serving, most influential political figure the left has ever produced. But even here, and especially here, Mr. Obama comes up short. The Weekly Standard lampooned TIMEs worshipful treatment with a stunning caricature of the 44th president rather shrunken in the shadow of our 32nd.

We dont need to approve of FDRs New Deal. Many if not most aspects of that Big Government solution worsened the Great Depression. Harold Ickes, the left-wing Republican who served the Squire of Hyde Park as Interior Secretary shot back at Republican criticisms of his day: Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend, Elect and Elect.

Ickes was right about that much. In those heady days of liberalism, it seemed you could prime the pump with confiscatory taxes without the pump ever going dry.

Ronald Reagan never criticized FDR. In Reagans day, there were simply too many millions of voters who had voted for that Man four times. Reagan was one of them.

So, its not surprising that we get an unrecognizable FDR for todays generation. Barack Obamas representatives testified recently on Capitol Hill. The administration opposes the suggestion by World War II veterans to include Roosevelts D-Day Prayer in his memorial. Dont dilute the FDR Memorial, they say. Dilute? They dont want to water down the rest of his stirring rhetoric.

Watering down? Is this administration really so anti-prayer as that? President Roosevelts nationally broadcast prayer spoke of faith in our united crusade against the evils of Nazidom. FDR addressed the American people on June 6, 1944. My friend Bill Bennett plays the D-Day prayer on his radio program every June 6th. Good for him.

Those who think a Roosevelt prayer diluting dont know FDR. When Roosevelt first met Prime Minister Winston Churchill, seventy years ago last summer for the first summit, the presidents son Elliott made a point of telling the British leader my father is a very religious man. Churchill had already learned that. He had studied the American leader and had chosen those great hymns most likely to tug at Roosevelts heartstrings. More than 5,000 young British and American sailors joined heartily to sing the words of O God Our Help in Ages Past, Onward Christian Soldiers, and Eternal Father Strong to Save.

Heres a compromise we can offer to avoid diluting the FDR Memorial:

Lets take that statue of Roosevelt on his wheel chair and ship it off to the Bill Clinton Library. As president, Clinton made it his business to tell us all that Americans were lied to about FDRs crippling condition of polio. Expert as he was in lying, Bill Clinton got that totally wrong. Readers of TIME and every other journal of the 1940s read every year that the president was going to Warm Springs, Georgia, for treatment for his polio-stricken legs. The president publicly raised funds for the March of Dimes, a group then dedicated to polio research. And, Mr. Clinton, guess whose picture is on the dime?

It was President Roosevelt who requested that no pictures of him in his wheel chair be shown. Thats the real reason only two of more than 14,000 photographs of President Roosevelt show him in his chair. To claim otherwise, as Clinton does, is to delude Americans.

If we transfer the wheelchair statue that FDR would have hated, we can avoid diluting the FDR Memorial. We can stop deluding Americans. We will have plenty of room to display Roosevelts eloquent D-Day Prayer. Then, we can remind ourselves that we truly are One Nation Under God.

Americas First Peacetime Flag

by Robert Morrison

September 8, 2011

My friend, Dick Libby, is a vexillologist. He studies flags. Dick worked for years to correct the version of the Shaw flag that flies over the heads of thousands of schoolchildren and tourists in our old State House in Annapolis, Maryland. I call this handsome banner the Shaw-Libby flag, since Dick Libby spent more time getting it right than even the redoubtable Col. Shaw did.

As we await the presidents speech to Congress this week, its worth thinking of that Shaw-Libby flag again. As Dick points out, this flag was Americas first peacetime flag.

How so? It was flown in Annapolis when Congress met there in late 1783. It was the flag that Gen. George Washington saw when he came to this historic town to resign his commission. He wanted to make a great symbolic gesture by returning his power to the source of his authority: the representatives of a free and peaceful people.

Today, our presidents approval rating is sinking. The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration which began with such high hopes is finding it harder to sustain those hopes. Congress can take little comfort from the presidents failing numbers. Americans tell pollsters they like Congress even less.

Its worth considering what things were like in 1783. Gen. Washington had just had to face down an incipient mutiny in the Continental Armys winter headquarters in Newburg, New York. The officers and men of the army had gone without pay, without promised lands, for years. They were restive. Some of their number wanted to march on Congress and demand that body keep its commitments. At the point of a bayonet.

Gen. Washington had come into their discontented ranks uninvited. He moved dramatically to the front of the hall and addressed the grumbling officers. This time, he could see that his appeals for good order and discipline were not calming the troubled waters. Washington had never considered himself a powerful orator, like Patrick Henry, like John Adams.

So he fished in his pockets for a letter, a message from a sympathetic Member of Congress which he said would put the case better. Opening the letter, he found he could not read it. As the men shuffled their feet, His Excellency searched for his eyeglasses.

Most of his officers had never seen their Commanding General wear spectacles before.

Washington, noting their murmurings said simply: Gentlemen: You will excuse me, for I have grown not only gray, but nearly blind in the service of our country.

Those quiet words were more moving to these veterans of many battles than any great orators ringing declamation. Many of the men wept openly. They had been through those battles with him and had seen him risk his life again and again.

So now, with peace assured, Gen. Washington rode into Annapolis to return his power to the source of that powerthe elected representatives of the sovereign American people. Then, as today, the U.S. economy was grinding to a halt. Then, as now, the republic was drowning in an ocean of debt. Then, as now, many people held Congress in contempt.

You mustnt give up power, your Excellency, some of his young aides pleaded. You must seize authority for the sake of our country. Washington firmly rejected this course.

I cannot act, he said sternly, the People must act.

But, sir, they protested, the People do not understand how close to collapse we are.

Unmoved, Washington answered: The People must feel an evil before they can see it.

Just in time, We the People acted. We fashioned a free republic through what young Alexander Hamilton called a miracle of reflection and choice. In time, too, we ratified a new Constitution and elected George Washington our first president.

Americans today arefeeling the evil. We feel the pain in the long lines unemployed. We pray for them, even as we are concerned we may be next in line. We feel the anguish of small business owners trapped in red tape who cannot freely hire new workers or offer new goods and services.

With all that bedevils us, all that threatens to disunite us, its important to reflect that we have come through hard, hard times before.

Today, there are journos who want to distract Americans by finding theos (theocrats) under every bed. They feel that if they can just frighten Americans with the theocrat scare, their side yet cling to power.

These journos might have been even more shocked had they read Gen. Washingtons orders to his army at the outset of the Revolution. With the British bearing down on them on Long Island in 1776, His Excellency wrote:

The fate of millions yet unborn will depend, under God, on the conduct of this army.

What? Talking about millions yet unborn? Talking about the army being under God?

How could we ever let such a theocrat lead us from that point of danger to that solemn ride under Americas first peacetime flag, the Shaw-Libby flag?

We did. By Gods grace we did. Let us pray we will yet be able to seek Gods aid in passing through our own distracted times. I thought of this when I flew the Shaw-Libby flag at my Annapolis home this week.

A Brave, if Misguided, Mayor

by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 12, 2011

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is a brave man. Anyone doubting this should watch his 25-minute exhortation to the African-American community of his city.

Nutter, himself black, began his message with a moving call for all Americans to pray for our men and women in uniform. And then: “Now: I’m gonna say some things this morning that many of you from time to time may think, but may not say. It will not be PC.”

The mayor’s message was volcanic in intensity but targeted in its aim: In vivid terms, he described the results of the break-up of the black family. His evaluation is entirely consistent with the research done by FRCs Dr. Pat Fagan, who has found only 17% of African-American youth (less than one in five) live with both married parents. Given that children need parents, there should be little wonder that so many black youth are adrift and moving into lives of crime or promiscuity.

Mayor Nutter took a strong line on thwarting the immediate acts of crime, but spoke eloquently about the need for parents truly to parent their children. Speaking to the young people who are disrupting the city, he said: “If you want all of us — black, white or any other color — if you want us to respect you, if you want us to look at you in a different way, if you want us not to be afraid to walk down the same side of the street with you, if you want folks not to jump out of an elevator when you get on, if you want folks to stop following you around in stores when you’re out shopping, if you want someone to offer you a job or an internship somewhere, if you don’t want folks to be looking in or trying to go in a different direction when they see two or 20 of you coming down the street, then stop acting like idiots and fools out in the streets of the city of Philadelphia. Just cut it out.”

Sadly, the Mayor in April also launched “the Freedom Condom” initiative to combat sexually-transmitted diseases. “The Freedom Condom (is) a LifeStyles Ultra Thin Lubricated inside a blue city wrapper - (it) may be ordered free online at www.TakeControlPhilly.org, and also (is being) distributed at more than 100 locations around the city. (It is) easily found via iCondom Philly, the new GPS-enabled iPhone app.”

The Mayor is, no doubt, a sincere man. Yet, logically, he cannot campaign against that which he is subsidizing. The only guarantees against a sexually-transmitted disease are abstinence or, if married, fidelity to one’s husband or wife. Moreover, by distributing condoms to children as young as 11, he is encouraging behavior he knows is dangerous. The fact that some children will be promiscuous does not justify fostering such promiscuity through the distribution of free prophylactics. This is like saying that because some people will become drug addicts, government should provide free, hermetically-sealed bags of heroin on demand.

In addition, the evidence indicates that an increase in contraceptive use actually means a higher level of abortion and disease. Peer reviewed studies in three countries: Britain, Spain, and Sweden demonstrate that an increase in contraceptive use is matched by a rise in STDs and abortions. In a commensurate way, less contraceptive use correlates with fewer abortions. From 1995 to 2002, the rate of contraceptive use here in the U.S. decreased from 64 percent to 62 percent and abortion numbers decreased from about 1.36 million to roughly 1.29 million.

With all of that said, we can still applaud Mayor Nutter for calling on mothers, fathers and children to function as God intended as loving, responsible, respectful families.

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