Tag archives: Religion

5 Ways to Draw a Loved One Back to Christ

by Dan Hart

March 31, 2022

In March of last year, a Gallup poll revealed that for the first time in America’s history, church membership had fallen below a majority. Survey data shows that since the 1970s, “Americans [who] said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque” has been dropping steadily, from around 70 percent in 1975 to 47 percent today.

This data fits with the experiences of many believers who have adult children, siblings, parents, or friends who were once churchgoers but have now fallen away and are living a fully secular life apart from God. For followers of Christ, it can be a gut-wrenching and painful experience to watch a loved one publicly turn away from their faith or renounce what we believe is the ultimate source of truth, human fulfillment, and flourishing on earth.

But we also know that life is full of suffering and disappointment. The trials of earthly life can feel overwhelming for everyone, believers included. It’s safe to say that we have all had moments in our lives when we have doubted God’s existence, or at least doubted His goodness or questioned His wisdom. We also know the powerful allure that the world offers us in its material things, sinful pleasures, and idolatrous philosophies that draw us away from God. Therefore, we must have empathy for those in our spheres who struggle with doubt. We also must think biblically about those who profess to no longer believe. After all, if it weren’t for God’s grace, none of us would have any faith at all (Eph. 2:8-10).

When we first learn about a loved one turning away from the Christian life, it can be tempting to react quickly and strongly, confronting the person with theological, intellectual, and what may seem to us commonsense reasons for why they are making the wrong decision. But as experience will tell us, this rarely works and often only increases tension and resentment. Instead, our ardent desire for our loved one to return to the faith must be seasoned with patience, patience, and more patience.

As we move forward in the hope that God will draw our loved one back to Himself in a manner according to His will and in His own good time, here are a few suggestions on ways we can reflect Christ’s love to our struggling loved ones.

1. Focus On the Relationship First

Instead of focusing on your loved one’s lack of faith, make a sincere, directed effort toward building your relationship with them on a human level. In your conversations, focus on discussing day to day activities, such as jobs, children, family matters, illnesses, shared interests, and the like. When possible, make a concerted effort to be there for your loved one at a moment’s notice, whether it be if they are sick and need errands to be run, need a last-minute babysitter, or just need someone to talk to during a time of difficulty. If faith-related topics come up, seek to listen well, ask good questions, and don’t try to win an argument.

In this way, you will build trust with your loved one, showing them that you care for their whole person no matter what their faith status is and no matter what season of life they are in.

2. Be Vulnerable

Being able to relate to your loved one even when they have abandoned the faith that you hold so dear is extremely important. The best way to do this is to let your guard down in your conversations with them and be as vulnerable as possible. If they bring up faith-related questions and show an interest in discussing them, share your own faith journey story from the very beginning without omitting any embarrassing details. Share any struggles you have had over the years in your relationship with Christ and the theological questions and Scripture passages that you continually wrestle with. Share your personal faults, weaknesses, and familial wounds and how they have affected your faith journey.

The more you share about your own personal struggles as a believer and the more honest and vulnerable you are, the more likely it is that your doubting loved one will make a connection with something you say—however small of a detail it may be—and be able to relate it to their own experience. Who knows—some seemingly insignificant anecdote you share may just be the mustard seed that plants itself in your loved one’s soul that will one day become a beautiful tree of renewed faith.

3. Share Life’s Beauty

As believers, we know that everything that is beautiful on earth is ultimately a reflection of God. This underscores the importance of talking with your loved one about the beautiful things in your life that you are passionate about. Discuss the ins and outs of the novel or biography you are currently reading. Share why you loved a particular movie or TV show that was excellently acted and produced and describe how it edified your soul. Illustrate how the latest concert you attended electrified you. When your loved one shares their own experiences and passions, listen attentively and connect with them over shared interests.

By keeping your discussions focused on passions and hobbies, the arts, and the multitude of other beautiful things that fill the earth, you can connect with your loved one in a deep yet unthreatening way that does not directly touch on faith. Even so, your conversation still has the potential to nudge your loved one a little closer to the Creator of all that is beautiful.

4. Live Your Life as a Witness

As previously mentioned, directly confronting your loved one about their doubts regarding faith is generally not advisable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an active witness of faith to them. How? By living a life of virtue fueled by your faith, which will be difficult for your loved one to ignore.

There are few things on earth more beautiful than a believer living an authentically free life to the fullest, being a visible sign of God’s presence on earth by living out the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Christians like this have a palpable sense of joy and peace that radiates from their soul, and which anyone, believer or not, can’t help but notice. Give your loved one the freedom to recommit to the faith through the witness of your own life.

5. Fast and Pray

There is a storied tradition throughout the entirety of Scripture on the importance and effectiveness of fasting for a particular intention. When we combine this with prayer, it is a potent means of calling on the Lord for the conversion of a loved one. As Christ Himself said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). Here are a few themes we can meditate on as we pray for our loved ones to return to the fold of faith.

  • Hope. Who can forget the incredible true story of Saint Augustine and the faith of his mother Monica? The early life of the man who many consider to be the greatest early church father was marked by sin and a rejection of the Christianity that his mother Monica tried to instill in him as a child (as described in his book Confessions). He embarked on a decade-long affair with a woman he never married, fathered a son with her, and spent years believing in astrology and Gnosticism. Throughout those agonizing 30 years of witnessing her son away from the faith, Monica never lost hope and continually believed and prayed for her son’s conversion. Sure enough, Augustine underwent a monumental conversion to Christianity and went on to become one of the most beloved bishops, thinkers, and writers in church history.
  • Surrender. As hard as it is to let go of our own will when it comes to our desire for our loved one to return to the faith, that is exactly what we must ultimately do—let go. Time and time again, Scripture tells us to humble ourselves and surrender all things to His will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we entrust our lost loved one in prayer to the Divine Shepherd, we will drive out anxiousness about their fate and bring peace to our souls.
  • The Prodigal Son. Perhaps the most beautiful and moving parable in all of Scripture is Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32). Part of the reason why it is so moving is that it is continually relatable and applicable to our lives as believers, for we know that whenever we sin, Christ welcomes us back with open arms time and time again when we beg for His forgiveness, for His mercy never ceases. As we meditate on this parable, let us picture our lost loved ones returning to our Savior, His arms spread open on the Cross, bleeding for their restoration with Him, and being washed in the blood of the Lamb’s embrace.

Beauty Will Save the World (Part 2): How Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride Reveals the Divine Potential of Marital Love

by John Sumereau

March 3, 2022

Fyodor Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer, famously observed that “Beauty will save the world.” In this spirit, this blog series focuses on great works of art and how they reveal new layers of meaning to the inexhaustibly rich themes of life and human dignity, marriage and family, and religious freedom. Read part one on Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party.

***

Vincent van Gogh once wrote that he would gladly give up 10 years of his life for the chance to sit in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, The Jewish Bride (1665-1669), for two weeks, eating only stale crusts of bread. 

Often described as “a painter’s painting,” the technical brilliance and subtlety of the artist’s handling are best appreciated by those who know the medium firsthand and are familiar with the limitations which Rembrandt’s genius transcends.

The painting’s title was erroneously assigned by an undiscerning art collector in the 19th century who supposed that the subject was a father bestowing a necklace on his betrothed daughter. While controversy about the actual subject persists, most scholars identify the sitters as husband and wife, and there is strong evidence that they are intended to represent the biblical figures of Isaac and Rebekah. 

Beyond the technical brilliance of this painting, what did van Gogh, a spiritually sensitive man and at one point a Protestant missionary, see in this work that so captivated him? His avowal carries a religious fervor out of proportion to even the most ardent connoisseur’s admiration of the master’s technical skill. 

The answer lies, no doubt, in the spiritual element that radiates from the encounter of its two subjects. Without any extravagant display of affection, Rembrandt communicates a mutual devotion of unfathomable depth. Art historian Sister Wendy Beckett calls their expressions “infinitely moving.” 

In his depiction of this loving couple, Rembrandt points to a reality that perhaps only those who have been blessed to personally experience it will recognize. This husband and wife, we feel, have each made of themselves a total gift. Their mutual exchange is complete. We immediately notice that the figures are not idealized. If anything, they are slightly unattractive, but this only serves to authenticate the depth of their love. We may be surprised to see that their gazes are not fixed on each other; instead, they look into the distance, as if reflecting on something past. And yet they are fully present to each other. In an extraordinary echo of the Holy Trinity, we see emerge from the profundity of their devotion what could almost be called the third character of the painting. The man and woman look not at each other but, it seems, at the very love that mysteriously springs from their union. 

God the Father eternally beholds His divine Son, and the Holy Spirit is the personification of Their Love; a third Person. God, Himself, is love, and the nearer our love comes to true holiness, the more fully is the Person of God, the Holy Spirit, present in our love. The expressions of the husband and wife are “infinitely moving” because they behold the infinite God to Whom their love points and in Whom it participates. 

In The Jewish Bride, we see a tender embrace without clinginess. We see an attraction that has little to do with attention to physical appearance. We see a love that rejoices in self-gift and a cherishing of the deepest identity of the other.

An earlier sketch by the artist depicts Isaac and Rebekah in similar postures with the figure of King Abimelech in the background accidentally witnessing their moment of intimacy. 

In the Genesis narrative, Isaac and Rebekah came to settle in the land of Gerar. Like his father Abraham had done years before, Isaac tells the inhabitants of this foreign land that his wife was his sister, for fear they would kill him and steal Rebekah if they knew she was his wife. When Abimelech happened to see them embracing, he sent for Isaac and rebuked him for putting his people in danger of unknowingly committing the serious sin of sleeping with another man’s wife. However one interprets this story, it is clear that Isaac is a flawed character. He is apparently unwilling to defend his wife, preferring to watch her be stolen than to put his own life at risk. This context adds even greater significance to the loving encounter Rembrandt presents, as a truly blessed and holy marital love transcends even serious faults. It is a love that participates in God’s love for us, aware of our sinfulness and misery, yet seeking the most intimate union. In this painting, Abimelech is absent, and we, the viewers, take his place. We are the discoverers of the couple’s secret and holy love.

The Jewish Bride exhibits the most extraordinary facet of Rembrandt’s genius: his ability to capture fleeting and elusive expressions along with the full weight of the psychological realities that underlie them. As he builds up layers of richly textured, opaque paint, he makes transparent the window to his subject’s soul.

There is little doubt that this is the beauty van Gogh identified and revered.

John Sumereau graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Art from the Penn State School of Arts and Architecture in 2013. John lives in Winchester, Virginia with his wife and three children, whom he currently supports by working as an ultrasound tech at a local hospital. His artwork can be seen on the John Sumereau Art Facebook page.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of February 20)

by Family Research Council

February 25, 2022

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

1. Update:  Ukraine’s Day of Infamy

It seems unfathomable that a week ago, the world’s televisions were full of triumph and sport, international spirit and respect. Those same screens are unrecognizable now, as people from every continent woke up to a new reality: war. As images flash across monitors of explosions along the Ukrainian front, there’s a certain disbelief that any of this is real.

2. Update: Canada Goes Tow to Tow with Truckers

They blasted their horns and sang “O Canada!” Some of the protestors linked arms as Ottawa police moved through the 300 semis and campers, arresting people along the way. The truckers didn’t torch government buildings or throw fireworks at mounted police. Ever since the demonstration started, they’ve been composed, peaceful. And the American Left can’t stand it.

3. Update: Let the Games Chagrin

The closing ceremonies of the 2022 Beijing Olympics couldn’t come soon enough for NBC, who just broadcasted the biggest Games flop of the modern age. When the curtain finally came down on the disaster that was the Winter Games, there were winners, to be sure. But there were, for the first time, many more losers—and the sporting world that allowed China to host was the biggest.

4. Blog: Praying for Ukraine

Russia has “shattered peace in Europe” in one night. The onslaught began only minutes after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he would be conducting a “special military operation” Ukraine. It quickly became clear that the operation was a full-scale invasion. As innocent civilians watch in terror as their country is invaded here are five ways you can pray for Ukraine.

5. Blog: Praying for Leah Sharibu After Four Years in Captivity

Four years ago, Leah Sharibu’s world was turned upside down. She went from being a normal schoolgirl in a rural region of Nigeria to being a captive of a faction of one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups, Boko Haram. On February 19, 2018, Boko Haram terrorists attacked her school. They kidnapped 109 students. However, they quickly released all but one: Leah Sharibu.

6. Washington Watch: Vicky Hartzler, Gordon Chang, Ron Johnson, Rachel Emmanuel, Jason Snead

Tony Perkins was joined by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, U.S. Representative for Missouri, who commented on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” discussed the close of the 2022 Beijing Olympics and how corporate America is complicit in China’s human rights abuses. Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, shared the latest on COVID news and his Right to Treat legislation. Rachel Emmanuel, reporter for iPolitics, described what she witnessed on Canada’s Parliament Hill. And, Jason Snead, Executive Director of the Honest Elections Project, gave an update on election reform bills in the states.

7. Washington Watch: George Thomas, Mike Pompeo, Maureen Steele, Ken Paxton, Travis Weber, Jack Hibbs

Tony Perkins was joined by George Thomas, CBN’s senior international correspondent, who shared the latest developments on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mike Pompeo, former United States Secretary of State, discussed the latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and his upcoming visit to Taiwan. Maureen Steele, National Organizer of The People’s Convoy, provided insight on the mission of the American Freedom Convoy and its current journey across the country. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, talked about his recent legal declaration that transgender procedures on minors is child abuse. Travis Weber, FRC’s Vice President for Policy & Government Affairs, unpacked the radical Abortion on Demand Act, which is deceptively titled the Women’s Health Protection Act. And, Jack Hibbs, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, shared how believers can respond to and pray for Ukraine.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of February 13)

by Family Research Council

February 18, 2022

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

1. Update: The Truck Stops Here

As the truckers’ protest in Ottawa enters its third week, Canadian lawmakers are beginning to feel the pain. Vehicles have blocked three U.S.-border crossings, including the busiest—Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. Protestors opened one lane to Canada-bound traffic, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford threatened up to $100,000 and a year in prison to protestors.

2. Update: Olympic Rings Hollow for Missing Generations

At the Olympic games, China recently ranked a distant 11th in the medal count. For this year’s Olympic host, the ranking must come as a disappointment. One must wonder how much they could have accomplished with the generations China destroyed. How many future medalists were lost to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) one-child policy and disrespect of human life? The world will never know.

3. Update: U.S. Sponsors Fan the Olympic Flame

America’s biggest companies may be downplaying their Olympic sponsorships at home, but in Beijing you can’t walk two feet without a flashy reminder of the U.S.’s heavy corporate presence. Like most of today’s corporate culture, it’s the tale of two continents: demand “justice” at home, enable the violators of it abroad.

4. Blog: Thinking Biblically About Missouri’s SAFE Act

Missouri state representative Suzie Pollock recently introduced the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. If passed, this legislation would prohibit puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and so-called gender reassignment surgeries for minors. The bill also prohibits the public funding, insurance coverage, and referral of such procedures for minors.

5. Blog: More Than Romance: The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

For some, Valentine’s Day is a fun excuse to dote on a spouse or loved one with roses, chocolates, and heart-shaped cards. A cynical few believe Valentine’s Day is just a marketing ploy—a made-up holiday that guilts you into spending money on someone. However, the historical origin of Valentine’s Day had nothing to do with any of these things.

6. Washington Watch: Dave Brat, Ken Blackwell, Sam Brownback, Andrew Brunson, Chip Roy

Tony Perkins was joined by Dave Brat, Dean of Liberty University’s School of Business, who addressed what rising inflation and lagging wage growth means for the economy and the political landscape. Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance and former Ohio Secretary of State, discussed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce demanding an end to Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” of truckers. Sam Brownback, former Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, spoke on China’s human rights record. Andrew Brunson, FRC’s Special Advisor for Religious Freedom, shared about the delivery of FRC prayer pledges to Päivi Räsänen, a member of Finland’s parliament who is facing trial for expressing biblical beliefs about human sexuality. And, Chip Roy, U.S. Representative for Texas, reiterated his support of Päivi Räsänen and discussed the letter he wrote offering her prayer and encouragement as she stands trial.

7. Washington Watch: Connor Semelsberger, Louie Gohmert, James Lankford, Nina Shea, Steve Daines, Meg Kilgannon

Tony Perkins was joined by Connor Semelsberger, FRC’s Director of Federal Affairs – Life and Human Dignity, who celebrated that Democrats in Congress have all but conceded that the Hyde Amendment will not be repealed this year. Louie Gohmert, U.S. Representative for Texas, discussed the Durham court filing, President Biden ordering the release of Trump’s White House visitor logs, and the call for open hearings on surveillance of representatives and staffers. James Lankford, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, talked about his letter on the Equal Rights Amendment and the Senate’s Continuing Resolution. Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute, detailed China’s record of persecuting the Falun Gong and the high-tech nature of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution. Steve Daines, U.S. Senator from Montana, addressed whether a GOP controlled Congress could ease the financial strain on American families. And, Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, unpacked news reports on school boards getting death threats amid rage over race, gender, mask policies.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of February 6)

by Family Research Council

February 11, 2022

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

1. Update:  Pelosi Again Disqualifies Olympic Criticism

During the Olympic opening ceremony, China kicked off its Genocide Games with an obvious PR stunt; one of two athletes who lit the Olympic cauldron was a woman of reportedly Uyghur heritage. The unmistakable message China is promoting is that Western criticism is incorrect, that there is no genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinxiang, that the U.S. declaration of genocide is baseless propaganda.

2. Update: Natural Immunity: Don’t Follow the Science Cherry-Pickers

A new study from Johns Hopkins on natural immunity to COVID-19 might prove Anthony Fauci’s worst nightmare. “If you had a positive COVID test in the past, then you had a 99.3 percent chance of having circulating antibodies against COVID, and those antibodies were present up to 20 months,” explained Dr. Marty Makary on “Washington Watch.”

3. Blog: A Year of Biden’s Foreign Policy: Blunders, Chaos, and Human Suffering

President Joe Biden assumed office one year ago, and although he declared at a press conference yesterday that he “probably outperformed what anyone thought would happen” in his first year, Americans are frustrated—and rightfully so. When it comes to foreign policy alone, one can’t help but think that American interests are less secure and our allies more frustrated with us than last year.

4. Blog: On Religious Freedom Day, Let’s Recommit to This Fundamental Human Right

Each year on January 16, America observes Religious Freedom Day. Unlike many others, this observance wasn’t launched in the 20th or 21st century. Its first appearance dates back to a founding American document on the subject, penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1777. Less than 10 years later, the document was enacted into Virginia State Law, and later into America’s First Amendment.

5. Washington Watch: Roger Marshall, Jerry Boykin, Bob Fu, Meg Kilgannon

Tony Perkins was joined by Roger Marshall, U.S. Senator from Kansas, who discussed Democratic governors rescinding COVID restrictions as waves of polling show Americans are ready to move on with life. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President and former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, discussed United States and Iran resuming nuclear talks. Bob Fu, Founder and President of China Aid Association and FRC’s Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom, talked about the growing repression of China on Christians and others. John Stemberger, President and general Counsel for Florida Family Policy Council, responded to President Biden’s comments on Florida’s bill that protects children from inappropriate sex and gender conversations in the classroom. And, Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, detailed FRC Action’s candidate school training event in North Carolina.

6. Washington Watch: Chris Smith, John Boozman, Michael Waltz, Marty Makary

Tony Perkins was joined by Chris Smith, U.S. Representative for New Jersey, who discussed the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and why many are referring to it as the “Genocide Games.” John Boozman, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, talked about the Senate Republicans’ letter to the DHS Secretary asking why taxpayer dollars are being used to fly illegal immigrants around the country. Michael Waltz, U.S. Representative for Florida, called out NBC for refusing to air his ad that criticizes China. And, Dr. Marty Makary, Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine & School of Public Health, shared the findings of his newly released study on natural immunity.

7. Washington Watch: Nihal Krishan, Craig Parshall, Dave LaRock, Nury Turkel, Tim Norton, Mark Harris

Tony Perkins was joined by Nihal Krishan, reporter for the Washington Examiner, to address Biden’s FCC nominee, Gigi Sohn, and the impact she could have on swaying the majority in the agency. Craig L. Parshall, attorney and special counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, shared whether Gigi Sohn’s confirmation to FCC could lead to reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. Dave LaRock, Virginia Delegate, discussed the voting happening in the Virginia House on a bill that gives families the ability to opt-out of mask mandates issued by school systems. Nury Turkel, commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious, talked about China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and the CCP’s propaganda during the Olympics. Tim Norton, a trucker from Brooks, Alberta, discussed his personal experience with Canada’s “Freedom Convoy”. And, Dr. Mark Harris, FRC’s vice president for the Association of Churches & Ministries, shared about FRC Action’s recent candidate training event in North Carolina.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of January 16)

by Family Research Council

January 21, 2022

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

1. Update: Virginia Finds Hope in the Gov Compartment

Of all the things in short supply right now, optimism may be the hardest to find. After 12 disappointing months of an administration whose domestic and foreign policy failures are rivaled only by the number of illegals crossing the border, Americans everywhere are desperate for some sign of hope, some indication that the country they love isn’t completely lost.

2. Update: Hollow the Leader: Biden’s Empty Year Takes Its Toll

If you thought your week was bad, Joe Biden’s was worse. In a matter of hours, Biden witnessed the end of the private employer vaccine mandate at the Supreme Court—followed, that same afternoon, by a death blow to two of the Left’s signature priorities: the crusade to end the Senate filibuster and his raging attempt to takeover U.S. elections.

3. Blog: Is Diversity a Biblical Goal?

While racial tensions reached a fever pitch in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death, the issue is not new. Two thousand years ago, Paul addressed the issue of race in his letter to the Galatian church when he said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

4. Blog: Religious Freedom Day: The Biden Administration Is Failing To Uphold Our First Freedom

Since 1993, the United States has formally observed Religious Freedom Day on January 16. President Joe Biden released a proclamation acknowledging the day. Although the president’s comments on religious freedom were mostly encouraging, it is difficult to appreciate his rhetoric when many of his actions throughout the first year of his presidency have undermined the freedoms he claims to support.

5. Washington Watch: Michael Waltz, Ken Blackwell, Greg Phares, Meg Kilgannon

Tony Perkins was joined by Michael Waltz, U.S. Representative for Florida, who discussed the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance and former Ohio Secretary of State, shared how President Biden is misusing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to push a federal government takeover of elections. Greg Phares, former Baton Rouge police chief, shared, in light of the terrorist hostage situation at a Texas synagogue, how security training saves lives. And, Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, commended newly inaugurated Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin for his first executive actions on education.

6. Washington Watch: Bob Good, Mike Rounds, Caroline Downey, David Closson, Nury Turkel

Tony Perkins was joined by Bob Good, U.S. Representative for Virginia, who gave an overview of President Biden’s education policies in his first year in office. Mike Rounds, U.S. Senator from South Dakota, discussed the Democrats pushing an elections takeover bill and gutting the filibuster. Caroline Downey, News Writer for National Review, talked about emails showing that Dr. Fauci and NIH Director Collins dismissed prominent scientists who endorsed the lab-leak theory on the origins of COVID. David Closson, FRC’s Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, reflected on President Biden’s first year in office. And, Nury Turkel, Commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Chairman of the Board for the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), discussed the Golden State Warriors co-owner saying that “nobody cares” about China’s persecution of Uyghurs.

7. ProLifeCon Digital Action Summit

As we look forward to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, pro-life legislators, organizations, and activists share resources and hope for digital activism in the #prolife movement.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of January 9)

by Family Research Council

January 14, 2022

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

1. Update: Swimmers Pool Their Resources to Fight Trans Onslaught

For parents in the stands at a recent Ivy League swim meet, there was only one way to describe it: “messed up.” In the head-to-head match-up of two “transitioning” athletes (one male-to-female, another female-to-male), most of the sports world is still rattled. Moms and dads who were there to witness it say they still can’t shake the image of one swimmer’s scars from a recent mastectomy.

2. Update: Dems’ Comparison to Pearl Harbor Bombs

The best person to host a “democracy summit” probably isn’t someone who wants to undermine elections, use the courts to subvert the rule of law, and thinks the best kind of government ignores individual freedoms. But then, Joe Biden probably isn’t the best person to lead a democracy either.

3. Blog: Don’t Let Biden Off the Hook for the Disaster He Left in Afghanistan

The media has largely moved on from the Afghanistan debacle, and many are all too eager to sweep the consequences of President Biden’s botched withdrawal under the rug. Yet, the repercussions will last lifetimes. Currently, hundreds of Afghan parents and family members are seeking help for their starving children.

4. Blog: China’s Tragic War on Uyghur Women

Recently, an independent tribunal in the United Kingdom released a judgment that found the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghur people to be consistent with the legal definition of genocide. Multiple governments have made the same pronouncement, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Belgium.

5. Washington Watch: Roy Blunt, Ken Paxton, Kevin Miller, Hayden Ludwig

Tony Perkins was joined by Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator from Missouri, to discuss the upcoming vote in the U.S. Senate to change the filibuster and pave the way for the elections takeover bill. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, discussed President Biden’s Atlanta speech pushing the Democrats’ elections takeover bill. Kevin Miller, Administrative Pastor of Foothills Church in El Cajon, California, gave an update after California state government officials shut down his church’s preschool over COVID protocols. And, Hayden Ludwig of Capital Research Center shared his research showing how left-wing ‘dark money’ groups are funding Senator Schumer’s secretive anti-filibuster campaign.

6. Washington Watch: Jeff Landry, Simon Calvert, Connor Semelsberger, David Closson

Joseph Backholm was joined by Jeff Landry, Louisiana Attorney General, to analyze the Supreme Court oral arguments regarding two of President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Simon Calvert, Deputy Director for Public Affairs at the Christian Institute, discussed a European Court of Human Rights ruling in favor of a Christian bakery that declined to create a same-sex wedding cake. FRC’s Connor Semelsberger detailed how American opposition to the Build Government Bigger Bill has dampened support among Democrats in competitive races. And, David Closson, FRC’s Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, explained why Christians must form a biblical worldview and what the Bible says is the role of government regarding vaccine mandates.

7. Washington Watch: Katherine Johnson, Joni Ernst, Todd Rokita, Mike Braun, J. Christian Adams

Tony Perkins was joined by FRC’s Katherine Johnson to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court blocking Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for businesses but allowing the vaccine mandate for health care workers to go into effect. Joni Ernst, U.S. Senator from Iowa, talked about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moving forward with votes on an elections takeover bill and radically altering the filibuster. Todd Rokita, Indiana Attorney General, gave an update on his lawsuits against the Biden vaccine mandates and discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Biden’s vaccine mandates. Mike Braun, U.S. Senator from Indiana, commented on the Senate HELP Committee voting to advance Robert Califf’s nomination to head the Food and Drug Administration. And, J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of Public Interest Legal Foundation, responded to Senator Schumer’s claim that the GOP is passing voter suppression laws at the state level.

5 Ways to Give the Gift of Yourself This Season

by Dan Hart

December 29, 2021

As much as we believers may try to avoid it, it’s hard not to get caught up in the present-buying frenzy that our culture is dominated by during the Christmas season. Spending enormous amounts of money on gifts every December has indeed become a kind of secular American tradition bordering on a religion.

While the giving of material gifts around Christmas time is a wonderful and storied Christian tradition that goes back to the time of Saint Nicholas in the fourth century, the pressure and stress of trying to buy the perfect present for a laundry list of family and friends can often feel overwhelming and can easily overshadow the reason for the season: the coming of Our Savior to earth as a baby.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a different—and perhaps better—way of gift giving that doesn’t necessarily involve spending money on material things. Here are five ideas on how we can give the gift of ourselves to others this season.

1. Reach Out

Even before the pandemic hit, more than three in five Americans reported being lonely. The pandemic further compounded the problem, with the rates of reported loneliness and suicidal thoughts rising dramatically not only in the U.S. but globally.

It’s clear that there are many Americans, particularly in urban areas, that do not have strong networks of friends and family nearby them that they can get support from. This is where we as believers can be the hands and feet of Christ—by reaching out not only to those in our own social circles but also to anyone we may encounter in our daily lives. Here are a few ideas about how to connect with people.

  • Write: Go through your contacts and send a text message or an email to someone you haven’t connected with in a long time asking them how they’re doing. You might even consider writing an old-fashioned letter if it strikes your fancy or you think your friend might be pleasantly surprised by one. You never know how a simple “Hello, how are you?” can affect someone, possibly giving them a mental boost at just the right time or rekindling a friendship.
  • Strike Up Conversations: When you are out and about, don’t be afraid to be friendly. Initiating conversations with strangers in everyday situations is a great way to establish an atmosphere of friendliness in public. Whether it be asking the grocery store cashier how their day is going or asking how old a fellow patron’s kids are in the coffee shop, you never know where a good-natured conversation can lead—possibly even to friendship and faith.
  • Take Regular Walks Around Your Neighborhood: Post-pandemic life has brought with it numerous changes, particularly making more American’s lives increasingly home-centric, so much so that one could conceivably go weeks without ever having to leave one’s house thanks to internet delivery services and the ability to work from home. This is why it is all the more important to get out of the house as often as possible, not only for fresh air and exercise but also to build community with those around us. By taking regular walks around our neighborhoods and making an effort to meet and become friendly with our neighbors, we can learn a lot, including where elderly shut-ins, those with disabilities, and families with small children live so that we can get to know them and offer our time or a helping hand when opportunities come our way.

2. Go Through Your Closets and Give Stuff Away

As one of the most prosperous nations on earth, Americans tend to accumulate stuff. Many of us have attics and closets full of things that we hardly ever use or wear. Instead of having garage sales or spending hours listing things on eBay to sell, consider giving your stuff away instead. Local Goodwill and secondhand stores are a good place to start, but it might be even better to consider giving them to a church clothing or Christmas gift drive so that those who are most in need can be the first to receive them. Just make sure the things you are giving away are not broken or overly used. Put yourself in the place of someone receiving your things—would you be happy to get them?

3. Make a Meal or Start a Meal Train for Those in Need

Providing a warm, home-cooked meal is one of the best ways to extend a helping and comforting hand to someone in need. With COVID and its variations still lurking, chances are we know someone in our social circles who is sick and may be in need of a meal (or more), especially if they are parents of small children whose needs don’t magically stop if their parents are sick. Others who often need meals are mothers who have just given birth and their families. One of the best ways to provide ongoing meals for those with extended illnesses or who have just had a baby is to set up a meal train for them—this allows their friends and acquaintances to all pitch in and sign up to provide meals for different days. MealTrain.com is a very useful and easy way to set up a meal train.

4. Consider Serving in Prison Ministry

Christ commands us in Matthew 25 to visit those in prison. There are over two million people in prison in the U.S., and the rates of loneliness and depression among prisoners are extremely high. Many churches have their own prison ministry programs that serve local prisons. You can also volunteer your time with the biblical worldview-centered organization Prison Fellowship, as well as financially support them. Because of the COVID pandemic, many prisons have severely tightened regulations for visitors, making it more difficult for family and friends to visit prisoners. If this is the case with prisons in your area, consider writing letters to prisoners who don’t have family and friends to support them.

5. Pray

Times are difficult in America right now in many ways, but one of the most painful difficulties for many of us is how divided our extended families are. Polls show that differing views about politics and vaccines are causing familial rifts like never before, not to mention the growing number of family members who are at odds over religious views. When tensions are high with our loved ones, Christmas and New Years can be an especially hard time because we often aren’t in a very giving mood.

That’s where prayer comes in. Prayer is powerful. Jesus Himself assures us that “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). The Scriptures are brimming with verses on the power that prayer has to change things. When we caste all of our problems on the Lord in prayer, not only does He hear them, but our own minds are put at ease. The best gift we can possibly give to anyone is love, and prayer is absolutely integral to loving well. Whether it be a family member who has fallen away from Christ or someone who is sick and is in need of healing, prayer may just be the best gift you could ever give them.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of December 12)

by Family Research Council

December 17, 2021

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

1. Update: Here Comes San Jose Right down Tyranny Lane

All they did was meet for worship in obedience to the Word of God. Then the government started fining them. Now, officials have shown up with a warrant and are interrogating their employees. The Supreme Court has twice ruled in favor of Calvary Chapel San Jose, yet the government is still harassing them.

2. Update: Biden on State Voting Protections: Dash Away, All!

The best person to host a “democracy summit” probably isn’t someone who wants to undermine elections, use the courts to subvert the rule of law, and thinks the best kind of government ignores individual freedoms. But then, Joe Biden probably isn’t the best person to lead a democracy either.

3. Blog: Fact Check: 5 False Claims Corrected in the Dobbs Oral Arguments

On December 1, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Julie Rickelman argued that the Court should strike down Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act—the bipartisan legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks. Although Rickelman’s arguments occasionally aligned with the truth, the majority of what she said does not pass a fact check.

4. Blog: The Public Is Being Primed To Feel Groovy About Psychedelic Drugs

Right now, there is a concerted effort to change the American public’s attitude towards psychedelic drugs. Turn on Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming services, and you’re likely to find shows and documentaries on the usefulness of these drugs. This is the first public sign that we are being primed to accept the recreational and “prescription” use of psychedelics to solve both our mental and spiritual ills.

5. Washington Watch: James Comer, Luther Harrison, Paul Schmitt, Meg Kilgannon

Joseph Backholm was joined by James Comer, U.S. Representative for Kentucky, who shared about the devastation from the recent tornadoes and relief efforts across Kentucky. Luther Harrison, with Samaritan’s Purse, discussed their relief efforts in the states devastated by tornadoes. Paul Schmitt, of Alliance Defending Freedom, celebrated a victory for a church school after Maryland officials revoked the school’s eligibility to participate in a voucher program based on the school’s beliefs on marriage and sexuality. And, FRC’s Meg Kilgannon warned of school districts across the U.S. screening teaching applicants about their political beliefs and commends parents for successfully persuading an Arizona school district to cancel a “Transgender Awareness Week.”

6. Washington Watch: Ron Estes, Ronnie Stinson, Mike McClure, Andrew Bostom

Joseph Backholm was joined by Ron Estes, U.S. Representative for Kansas, to discuss the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers showing the true cost of the Build Back Better bill. Ronnie Stinson, with Trace Creek Baptist Church in Kentucky, talked about how the church is responding to the worst tornado destruction in the state’s history. Mike McClure, Senior Pastor of Calvary Christian Fellowship in California, shared about the California government serving a warrant and demanding information on COVID compliance. And, Dr. Andrew Bostom, Associate Professor at Brown University, questioned why COVID policies are drifting further and further away from what clinical data shows about the virus.

7. Washington Watch: Dan Bishop, Sarah Perry, Virgil Walker, Arielle Del Turco, Gordon Chang

Joseph Backholm was joined by Dan Bishop, U.S. Representative for North Carolina, to discuss the House holding Mark Meadows in criminal contempt. Sarah Perry, with Heritage Foundation, warned of LGBT indoctrination promoting “Two Spirit” sexuality and child mutation happening to four-year-olds in L.A. schools. Virgil Walker, of G3 Ministries and co-host of the Just Thinking Podcast, called out a Denver elementary school for planning a racially segregated playground night in the name of “equity.” FRC’s Arielle Del Turco talked about the House passing legislation banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region. And, Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, discussed the video summit between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

Year in Review: 10 Stories From 2021

by David Closson

December 17, 2021

2021 has been a year full of important cultural, political, and legal developments. In a year that witnessed the inauguration of a new president, the conclusion of America’s longest war, and the ongoing fight against COVID-19, there was much to track, analyze, and discuss. Although Democratic majorities in Congress required conservative policymakers to play defense at the federal level, there were still notable (and significant) legislative victories throughout the states.

2021 was an active year for Family Research Council, and there are several new initiatives, events, and legislative victories that merit gratitude and reflection as we prepare to ring in the new year. What follows are 10 stories from 2021 that provide a summary of God’s faithfulness and kindness to us and lay the groundwork for an exciting 2022.

1. Oral Arguments Heard in Case that Could Overturn Roe

On December 1, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion on demand in America through all nine months of pregnancy. 

In Dobbs, the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, bipartisan legislation that prohibits elective abortion after 15 weeks gestation. The Gestational Age Act offers a direct challenge to the jurisprudence of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that made legal abortion through nine months the default law of every state. Under Casey, states may prohibit abortion post-viability and restrict abortion prior to viability so long as the restriction does not place an “undue burden” on the woman. In Dobbs, the court will consider whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional. The court’s decision, which is expected in summer 2022, could return the ability to legislate abortion back to the states and will have major implications for the future of the unborn in America.

In the weeks leading up to the oral arguments, FRC provided leadership to the pro-life community in a variety of ways. First, FRC filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to overturn Roe and its companion case, Casey. Second, FRC teamed up with other national pro-life groups, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, to host a “Pray for Dobbs” national webinar for pastors. Over 4,000 pastors joined the October broadcast and learned about the case. Then in November, the “Pray for Dobbs” coalition hosted a national prayer event. Over 18,000 people joined national leaders on the broadcast to pray for the upcoming case. Third, on November 28, FRC hosted a prayer rally titled “Pray Together for Life” in Mississippi. Among the national leaders who participated was Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves. Finally, FRC also published resources and articles about the case, and on the day of oral arguments, FRC’s Katherine Johnson spoke at a rally outside the Supreme Court.

To learn more about the case and for a list of recommended ways to pray, see my article in The Gospel Coalition.  

2. Vaccine Mandates Struck Down

On September 9, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that all employers with more than 100 employees must require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing. Noncompliant businesses could be fined. Biden’s private employer mandate came on the heels of a federal mandate requiring all federal employees to receive the vaccine, get tested weekly, or face dismissal from their job.

After the announcement, several organizations and schools (including The Daily Wire, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary) sued, alleging the Biden administration lacked constitutional and statutory authority to issue such a mandate to private employers. Both schools also argued that the administration lacked jurisdiction to dictate employment practices to religious institutions. On Friday, November 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying enforcement and implementation of the executive order. On November 16, 2021, the Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all petitions for review of the Emergency Temporary Standard (including the Fifth Circuit ruling) before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Moreover, on November 29, a U.S. district court in Missouri issued a preliminary injunction for health care workers in 10 states. On November 30, the U.S. District Court of Western Louisiana issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the enforcement of Biden’s national vaccine mandate for health care workers. Additionally, on December 7, a U.S. district judge in South Georgia temporarily blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors.

President Biden’s vaccine mandate has proven to be divisive. Thus far, courts around the country have halted the implementation of the mandate. As we move into 2022, Christians will need to think carefully and biblically about vaccine mandates, as it seems they will continue to be part of the national conversation.

Concerning whether Christians should use religious exemptions, see my article “How Should Christians Use Religious Exemptions for Vaccine Mandates?

3. Off-Year Election Results

While 2021 is not a major election year for most states, a few states and cities still held important elections. The most significant of these was the Virginia gubernatorial election, in which Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin faced off against the Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Even though Joe Biden had won Virginia by 10 points the previous year, Youngkin surprised political pundits by defeating McAuliffe and becoming the first Republican to win a statewide race in over a decade. Furthermore, Republican nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general both won, and Republicans retook the majority in the House of Delegates. Many election observers cited parents’ outrage over public school officials’ cover-up of a biological male student’s rape of female students in Loudon County school bathrooms. Abortion and the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools were also motivating factors for many voters.

Elsewhere around the country, conservatives demonstrated that the political climate has soured against Democrats and their progressive agenda. For example, the Republican nominee for governor in New Jersey nearly pulled off a shocking upset against incumbent Democrat Governor Phil Murphy. In perhaps the most stunning race, New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D) was upset by a Republican truck driver who only spent a few thousand dollars on his campaign.  

Additionally, ballot measures to defund the police department were defeated in Minneapolis, and the mayor of Buffalo waged a successful write-in campaign against a progressive candidate endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). FRC Action (FRC’s legislative affiliative) endorsed their first candidate for school board, David Anderson, in Washington state. Anderson won the election. Only a year after the 2020 election, voters are clearly concerned about the country’s direction, and these results are encouraging for conservatives headed into next year’s midterm elections. 

4. FRC Launches Center for Biblical Worldview

In May, FRC launched the Center for Biblical Worldview (CBW) with the goal of equipping Christians to advance and defend their faith in their families, communities, and the public square. We also added researcher George Barna and Professor Owen Strachan to the CBW team.

The need for the CBW was underscored by an FRC-commissioned survey that revealed that only six percent of Americans have a biblical worldview, despite 51 percent thinking they do. Furthermore, only 21 percent of those who attend evangelical churches have a biblical worldview. Biblical illiteracy is a significant problem in America, one the CBW hopes to help counteract.

The CBW hit the ground running, publishing numerous resources in its first year, including newly re-branded Biblical Worldview Series booklets covering important topics such as religious liberty, the sanctity of life, human sexuality, and political engagement. These booklets are now available in English and Spanish. The CBW also produced dozens of articles, interviews, and other resources to help pastors, churches, and Christian laypeople think through the year’s most contentious and confusing political and moral questions.

In 2022, the CBW is planning to publish a Sunday school curriculum, a video series, and a web-based resource for parents and students to evaluate the faithfulness of every Christian college and university in America. To stay informed about all of the exciting projects we expect to release next year, you can sign up for the CBW’s monthly email here.

5. Texas Heartbeat Act Saves Thousands of Babies

The Texas Heartbeat Act, which took effect on September 1, has saved an estimated 150 babies from abortion per day. This will result in upwards of 18,000 babies saved by the end of the year. The Texas law bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, typically at about six weeks gestation. Texas’ 230 pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) have been meeting the needs of mothers that otherwise might have undergone abortions prior to the Heartbeat Act.  

Unsurprisingly, Texas abortion businesses sued the state over the Heartbeat Act. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and in December issued an opinion permitting lawsuits to proceed against licensing officials but no one else that the abortion lobby had named as defendants. SCOTUS also made the rare move of dismissing the Biden administration’s suit saying they never should have accepted it in the first place. Overall, the opinion was a win for pro-lifers. Although the law is currently facing challenges from the outraged abortion lobby, it is still in effect today. 

While holding her three-month-old son, FRC’s Mary Szoch spoke outside the Supreme Court as arguments about the Texas law were heard. FRC’s Katherine Johnson also published an explainer about the law, combatting lies spread by the abortion lobby (and unfortunately parroted by many in the media). Christians must continue to pray for a favorable outcome for Texas as the Heartbeat Act continues to face litigation in 2022.  

6. Win in Congress: NDAA Passes Without Conscripting Women

Every year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation that is required to fund the military. Legislators have managed to pass the NDAA for 60 years. However, it is not always an easy or smooth process. This year, Democrats dug in on adding a proposal to mandate that women register for the draft.

Over the past few months, as the bill moved through Congress, FRC argued that women should continue serving honorably in the military on a voluntary basis only. Including women in any future drafts would subject them to being mandated into combat roles, which is unnecessary and dangerous. It has been proven that women in combat situations have a higher likelihood of injury than their male peers and thus affect the lethality, readiness, and cohesion of certain combat units.

FRC facilitated more than 200,000 messages to Congress opposing this dangerous mandate. Pro-family leaders in the House and Senate such as Sens. Hawley (R-Neb.), Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Lee (R-Utah) and Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) led the charge. In an about-face that Politico described as a “stunning turnaround,” this mandate on women and other anti-life and anti-religious liberty provisions were dropped from the bill.  

7. Hyde Amendment Preserved

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. However, since 1976, Congress has worked to ensure that federal funding does not go toward abortion. In 1976, Congressman Henry Hyde introduced an amendment to the Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill, prohibiting federal Medicaid funds from paying for abortions. This amendment to the annual spending bill, known as the Hyde Amendment, has been approved every year since 1976 and has saved an estimated 2,409,311 lives.

However, because of the nature of federal spending, this measure must be passed annually in order to remain in effect. In recent years, Democrat lawmakers have openly lobbied to remove the Hyde Amendment. In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an HHS spending bill without Hyde for the first time since 1976. Moreover, the Senate introduced a spending bill without Hyde protections. Thankfully, despite fierce attacks from pro-abortion lawmakers, Hyde was preserved in the spending bills passed in 2021.

There are several ways in which FRC was involved in preserving Hyde. For example, FRC worked to secure 199 signatures from House members calling for the preservation of Hyde. Additionally, FRC worked to educate members of Congress about Hyde and worked with them whenever the issue was brought up in committee or came up for a vote. When the spending bill came through committee in July, FRC staff helped committee members with speeches and media interviews. Every Republican on the appropriations committee gave a speech defending Hyde and opposing taxpayer funding of abortion. While it is normally difficult for outside groups to muster five to seven members to speak out in committee on a given issue, FRC helped get 25 members to speak in favor of Hyde. Even though it remains under attack, the Hyde Amendment received more vocal support from Republican lawmakers in 2021 than in any year in recent memory.

8. Pray Vote Stand Summit

The inaugural Pray Vote Stand Summit was held October 6-8 at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia. The thousands of social conservatives who attended in-person and the tens of thousands who attended online heard from nationally-recognized religious and political leaders on the most pressing issues facing the nation, including religious freedom, abortion, national security, and education.

Speakers included Mike Pompeo, Glenn Youngkin, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, Carter Conlon, Os Guinness, Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. James Lankford, Jack Hibbs, Nancy Pearcey, Allie Beth Stuckey, Chad Wolf, and many others.

In addition to plenary addresses from speakers, attendees benefited from hearing panel sessions on topics such as abortion, worldview, Christian persecution, vaccine mandates, and keeping children safe from radical gender ideology. Coinciding with the Summit, FRC also hosted a training for those interested in running for their local school board. 

FRC’s communications team credentialed 47 members of the media from 26 outlets to cover the Pray Vote Stand Summit, including Fox News, CBN News, and One America News. Additionally, 34 media outlets published 45 articles about or referencing the conference including Fox News, Breitbart, The Blaze, CBN News, The Daily Wire, The Christian Post, and The Epoch Times.

9. International Religious Freedom Summit

On July 13-15, FRC participated in the 2021 International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit. Unlike the Trump-era Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, this year’s IRF gathering was organized by private organizations, not the U.S. government. Hosted by 81 convening partners (including FRC), the summit highlighted the issue of international religious freedom, an area of increasing concern. In fact, almost 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries with high levels of religious persecution, much of it perpetrated by government actors.

At the summit, participants heard reports by FRC’s Andrew Brunson and Bob Fu. FRC president Tony Perkins hosted a panel discussion and a sponsored lunch where he interviewed Grace Gao, who shared about her father, a human rights lawyer, who has been targeted by the Chinese government and whose exact whereabouts have been unknown for four years. FRC’s Lela Gilbert moderated a side event on religious freedom in Nigeria, which included two survivors of persecution.

For more information about FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, specifically its work on international religious liberty, see FRC.org/irf.

10. SAFE Act Passes in Arkansas

On April 6, the Arkansas legislature enacted House Bill 1570, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. This made Arkansas the first state in the nation to ban the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender reassignment surgeries on individuals under 18 for the purpose of “gender transition.” Of the many similar bills introduced across the nation, Arkansas’ law is the most comprehensive ban addressing this issue. It initially passed the Arkansas House 70-22 and the Senate 28-7. When Governor Asa Hutchison vetoed the bill, the House voted 72-25 and the Senate voted 25-8, providing the first veto override in Hutchinson’s tenure as governor. FRC awarded Rep. Robin Lundstrum the Samuel Adams Award for State Legislator of the Year in recognition of her leading role in getting the bill passed.

For more information about FRC’s work with state legislatures around the country and some of the pieces of legislation we support, see FRC.org/legislation.

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