Tag archives: Religion

Faith-Based Solutions Are Vital to Preventing Veteran Suicide

by Cassidy Rich

May 14, 2019

By the end of every day, an average of 20 U.S. military veterans will have committed suicide. This number is staggering, especially when you consider the fact that less than 1 percent of the U.S. adult population are currently serving in the military. What happened?

Ask Richard Glickstein and he’ll tell you that there are several reasons. Glickstein, the former president of the National Bible Association and current military/veteran advocate on Capitol Hill, says that faith-based solutions are “devoid” in the military because the focus for the last several decades has been on the mind, not the spirit. Another reason why veteran suicide has escalated, Glickstein points out, is because some of the medications that veterans are given to help them are actually hurting them and can make the thoughts of suicide worse.

In a Speaker Series event at FRC headquarters last week, Glickstein quoted George Washington in a letter written to the Virginia Governor in 1758: “Common decency, Sir, in a camp calls for the services of a Divine; and which ought not to be dispensed with, altho’ the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of Religion, & incapable of good Instructions.” Washington knew that religion played a vital role in the health and well-being of soldiers. He knew that spirituality needed to be the focus for both mental and bodily health. “This is why he instituted the chaplaincy at Valley Forge,” Glickstein stated.

So what do faith-based solutions have to do with veteran suicide? Glickstein pointed out that based on 140 years of evidence, “The disciplined practice of religion increases resiliency, reduces suicide, and helps to speed the resolution of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. PTSD and suicide ideations are conditions of the spirit/soul. Only therapy to this core of a person will affect change.”

These are some of the findings of Dr. Harold G. Koenig, Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University, who gathered and analyzed 140 years of scientific evidence on mental health and found that people who prayed often and regularly attended religious services were far less likely to have mental health issues. This is vital information because science shows that once a male civilian enters the military, he is 30-50 percent more likely to commit suicide. For women who enter the military, their chance of mental health disorders and risk of suicide increases 200-500 percent.

Why are the percentages so high, especially for women? Glickstein says that major contributing factors are isolation and reverse culture shock. When our soldiers come back from war, most of them don’t have a common community of fellow veterans. They feel isolated and feel like they can’t talk to anybody about what they experienced because their civilian friends and family won’t understand. The other aspect is reverse culture shock—veterans often have an incredibly difficult time reentering into “normal life” because they are different. Their experiences changed them and now they are struggling to jump back into a life that no longer exists because they have changed.

What can we learn from this? Glickstein said, “Suicide doesn’t differentiate between a Democrat and Republican. Veteran and military suicide, they’re Democrats, they’re Republicans. This isn’t an ideological issue. This is a crisis.” What veterans need are Americans who are willing and want to hear their stories, more connection and community with fellow veterans, and accountability in faith and religious circles. New faith-based programs like Soul Survivor Outdoor and the Trump administration’s new high-level task force on preventing veteran suicide are huge steps in the right direction.

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.

Praying for Our Leaders

by Peyton Holliday

March 12, 2019

Here at Family Research Council, we have been reading through Carter Conlon’s book It’s Time to Pray. Prayer has been a focus at FRC since the beginning, but we are renewing that focus this year. In Conlon’s book, he highlights stories of how people’s lives have been changed by prayer. He shows us how people live out the verse in James: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (5:16).

We as Christians in the United States should be praying for our leaders in authority over us. In the book of 1 Timothy, we are told to pray for our leaders: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We need to pray that our leaders will have wisdom (Proverbs 3:13) and will surround themselves with counsellors (Proverbs 15:22). Here are some great scripture passages to pray over our leaders from the book of Proverbs:

  1. Lord, may our leaders guide our nation in what is right, just, and fair (1:3).
  2. May they understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (2:5).
  3. Above all, may our leaders trust in God with all their heart and not lean on their own understanding (3:5).
  4. As they interact with those around them, may they avoid all perverse talk and a deceitful mouth (4:24).
  5. Lord, may our leaders not be afraid of sudden disaster (3:25) and make wise decisions in the face of a disaster.
  6. As our leaders make both life and political decisions, may they ponder the path of their feet (4:26).
  7. I pray that our leaders will not be wise in their own eyes, but fear the Lord and turn away from evil (3:7).
  8. Lord, may they find favor and understanding in the sight of God and man (3:4).
  9. As our leaders make national and local decisions, may they listen to wisdom and be secure without fear of evil (1:33).
  10. May our leaders do their work pure and right (20:11).
  11. Thank you, Father for those that you have placed in authority over us. May you remind us to pray for them and never give up remembering that our leader’s hearts are turned by you and you turn them however you please (21:1). Amen.

It is our duty as Christians to respect the authority over us (Romans 13:1-7). I think we would have an easier time respecting those in authority if we prayed for our leaders on a daily basis. Prayer, as small of a task and as insignificant as many think it to be, can change the world. If more Christians would daily, hourly, and without ceasing pray for our leaders, our nation and the world would be a different place.

Peyton Holliday is an intern at Family Research Council.

Keeping The Freedom Fire Ignited

by Family Research Council

July 3, 2014

It’s a sad reality that even the most expensive, precious, and invaluable of gifts sometimes receive the least appreciation, especially through the passage of time. The gift of religious freedom that we as Americans are privileged to possess is one that many beyond our shores only dream of having, yet those who are blessed to enjoy it easily forget the magnitude of this gift that we have been given.

During this month of July, when our thoughts turn to all things patriotic as we take part in various celebrations that have a reoccurring red, white, and blue theme, it is still easy to miss the most precious gift that we are given as Americans – the freedom of religion. While the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, right to bear arms, and so forth, are all extremely important, the freedom of religion is by far the most precious of all.

The longing for religious freedom was the driving force that compelled the first settlers to cross unchartered waters in search of a land where they could worship God as their conscience dictated. Yet, today, many Americans do not even give a second thought to the fact that they are able to go to church and live out their faith without retribution from the government. However, we get a taste of what other countries experience as a daily reality when we rally on the steps of our Supreme Court, praying that our business owners will not be forced by the government to violate their deeply held convictions and provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

In China, demolition teams show up in the dark of night to remove any sort of Christian representation that believers have the courage to display. Iranian American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini spent his 10th anniversary of marriage behind bars, unable to see his wife and two children. Sudanese Christian believer Meriam Ibrahim was forced to give birth to her second child in a prison cell. Her crime? Being a Christian.

Because we have been given so many blessings as Americans, it is extremely easy to have an attitude of entitlement. We tend to forget that the only reason we have these freedoms is due solely to God’s blessing and all those who have given their lives so that our fundamental rights could be protected.

 

This holiday, ignite the fire of freedom in your own heart. Commit to defend it with everything in you. This gift is only as strong your willingness to come to its defense.

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

 

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

- Martin Niemöller

Pandering on Sexual Morality = Church Decline

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 6, 2013

John Lomperis at the Institute of Religion and Democracy has written a convincing, tightly-argued piece that old-line Protestant churches that compromise their allegiance to biblical moral truth are failing. It’s well worth reading. Here are two particularly potent quotes from it:

** “The spiritual and existential end of a Christian denomination (United Church of Christ) with such a rich heritage should drive any disciple of Jesus to mourn.”

** “Recently, some voices have argued that if non-mainline evangelical churches are to survive among younger generations of Americans, they too must move their approach to sexual morality closer to that of the UCC. In light of the above, the best response this young adult can offer is: Seriously???”

Son of Thomas

by Robert Morrison

November 15, 2012

I met Jacob for coffee this week. He didnt look a day older than when I first met him as a University of Virginia undergraduate fourteen years ago. Jacob was then a sharp Washington intern and I enjoyed hearing his familys story of coming to America. Jacobs parents are Christians who left India to come here seeking a better life for their children.

Jacob and I were headed to a Capitol Hill briefing on the threat of sharia law to Americas freedoms. He has returned from a two-year stint in Defense Studies at a graduate school in India. He has made himself an expert in jihadist ideology and its global transmission through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

I was keenly interested in how this young American would react to living in the country of his parents. He said that when his class went to hear Sec. of State Hillary Clinton when she made an appearance in India, his classmates found her condescending and ill-informed.

Indian students of national defense are upset that Americans can be so naive. Why has America lined up behind Pakistan when the official motto of the Pakistani Army is “Faith, Piety, and Jihad in the Way of Allah” (“Iman, Taqwa, Jihad-fi-Sabilillah“)? Why is the U.S. showering billions in aid on the Pakistanis?

Well, the standard answer is that the Pakistanis have the nuclear bomb and we dont want to alienate them. But China and Russia also have nuclear weapons. So does India. We dont seem to feel it necessary to pay them off.

Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, we explain. The Indians are too polite to laugh in our faces. Despite years of promises to the U.S., the ISI, Pakistan’s equivalent to the CIA, continues to permit terrorist training camps to be run in Pakistan. From those camps, jihadists are sent throughout the world, including the U.S. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who attempted to bomb Times Square in 2010, was trained in one such location.

Surely, Pakistanis were helpful in tracking down Osama bin Laden, werent they? They let him lounge with his wives a mile outside the gates of their West Point for years. If they knew this, they were treacherous. If they did not know this, they were spectacularly incompetent. In either case, we are wasting our money.

It should be no mystery which case was true. A few weeks after our helos had lifted off, with the body of bin Laden wrapped to sleep with the sturgeons, the Pakistani regime arrested the man who helped us finger the mastermind of 9/11. So much for Pakistani friendship.

Jacob thinks we Americans could learn a lot from Indians. They have a lot more experience with jihad than we do. (Like a thousand years!)

Jacob and I move on to other topics. Hes a recent convert to Orthodox Christianity. Although it is not widely known in the West, Orthodox Christians strongly believe the Apostle Thomas traveled to India as a missionary as early as A.D. 52. There, he founded a church which has survived to this day. I tell him that I was brought to faith in Christ by reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the heroic Russian Orthodox writer, so I will always have a soft spot for our Orthodox brethren.

Also, I pointed out the important scene in the movie Luther. When young Martin is studying for his doctorate, his professor recites the Latin maxim: Extra ecclesia non salus est. Outside the [Roman Catholic] Church, there is no salvation. Immediately, Brother Martin objects: What about the Eastern Church? Even then, he recognized the kinship he had with Christians outside the communion of the Catholic Church. As a Lutheran, I could hardly fail to appreciate that scene. It may have been a pivotal moment in the Reformation.

I asked Jacob how he coped with the multitude of India’s languages. He explained that while he picked up some Hindi and Tamil from his classmates, they were eager to practice their English with him. It actually gave him an opening to discuss Christianity with them.

As the noted literary critic E.D. Hirsch wrote in Cultural Literacy, the only way you can understand English is to read the Bible. Thats because English contains hundreds of biblical allusionsthe widows mite, the extra mile, the good shepherd, the widow and the unjust judge, becoming a Jonah, the camel and the eye of the needle, just for starters. Hirsch was not a Christian, but he recognized the central role the Bible has played in the development of our English language.

One of the tragedies of the education establishment going even beyond the erroneous court rulings against Bible readings is that our national literacy has declined seriously since the 1960s. Hirsch was concerned about the disparate impact of this decline on minority students, in particular.

I mentioned to Jacob my greatest joy: My almost four-year old grandson has been attending a Lutheran pre-school. His first lesson was God made me. He is now memorizing Bible verses. Mine for him will be this: Gods Word Stands Forever.

My grandson is the only white child in his class. The rest of the school is comprised of immigrant and minority children. When you hear him recite the names of his playmates, you realize that America is changing. Yes, thank God, America is changing. In certain ways, she is becoming more deeply Christian. It is considered politically incorrect to state this, but the majority of America’s immigrants identify themselves as Christians and have enriched American culture through their unique contributions.

As we leave for our meeting, Jacob helps me with my tangled trench coat. Its a gracious gesture from the young to the old from this Son of Thomas. If we have the wit, and the faith, we will thank God for young Americans like Jacob.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Tony Perkins Respond to the Ban of Military-Themed Bibles

by FRC Media Office

June 15, 2012

On this week’s edition of Washington Watch Weekly, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS 1st ) joins FRC’s Tony Perkins to discuss the decision by the Department of Defense to withdraw its authorization for Bibles with military insignias.

Here are excerpts from Rep. Huelskamp’s interview:

The Department of Defense is more worried about the atheists than our real legitimate national security threats around this country

The separation of the military and government and [our Judeo-Christian heritage] will be a disaster… . It is just one of many attacks on faith coming out of this administration.

This does an incredible disservice to the men and women in the military… . It turns away something that can help men and women in the military.

Rep. Huelskamp also said that the ban comes at a time when extra spiritual help is needed to help deal with the high suicide rates in the military and the service members need our support.

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

April 30, 1789: Was President Washington Too Cute by Half?

by Robert Morrison

April 30, 2012

Last week, Congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.) offered a prayer to open a meeting of his House Armed Services Subcommittee. It was a personal prayer in which the Congressman asked for divine guidance and for a spirit of conciliation among Members during sometimes rancorous proceedings. He closed by saying he offered the prayer in the name of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Uh oh! That was enough to excite the rancor of the atheizers. These are those self-appointed defenders of the constitutional separation of church and state who race to the microphones and into court to protest any mention of God, or parish the thought, Jesus in a public context.

They will doubtless be wounded and think themselves unjustly treated to be called atheizers. But is that not the effect of what they advocate? Do they not complain of any public expression of Christian faith? They say they are all for religious liberty, and many of them vigorously claim to be Christians themselves.

They simply want to have freedom of expression and freedom of worship confined to the home and churches. Away from public view. Just like it was guaranteed in the old Soviet Constitution.

One of the atheizers leaders is Rev. Barry Lynn. He heads something called Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Americans, it seems, were mostly united before the atheizers began their agitation. Since then, there has been no end of Americans disunited.

Rev. Lynn is not letting Mr. Akin get away with referring to You Know Who as his personal Savior. Thats too cute by half, said Mr. Lynn.

Mr. Lynn is always provocative. He got me thinking. I wonder if President Washington was also too cute by half. Its true that President Washington did not mention the name of Jesus in his Inaugural Address on this day in New York City in 1789.

Perhaps George Washington figured that since he was taking the Oath of Office as prescribed in the newly adopted Constitution, it would be unnecessary. He did add to the words prescribed in the Constitution these four wordsSo Help Me God.

Washington was acutely aware that everything he did and said would form a precedent for future presidents. He was also acutely careful to respect the traditions and beliefs of his fellow citizens of the new republic.

After taking the oath, in the presence of a cloud of witnesses, and asking Gods help in fulfilling his constitutional duties as the first president, Washington kissed the Bible.

Did you notice that part, Barry Lynn? George Washington actually kissed the Bible. On federal property. And in the middle of an official federal proceeding, not unlike a congressional hearing.

And before the atheizers come back with their rejoinderbut Washington never mentioned Jesuslets see what President Washington did next. He proceeded inside to deliver his first Inaugural Address to Members of the new federal Congress, diplomats, and invited guests in the Senate chamber.

From there, President Washington led the assembly to St. Pauls Church in Lower Manhattan, where the Chaplain of the Senate led them in a worship service. The Rev. Dr. Prevost also served as Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York.

Washington Irving, one of Americas best loved writers, then informs us so closed the inaugural ceremonies.

Imagine that, Mr. Lynn! On that day inManhattanwere assembled hundreds of those who had drafted, approved, and then ratified the new Constitution. No one, according to the historical account, jumped up to protest the oath, or the kissing of the Bible by the newly intalled president. No one seems to have run out of St.Pauls offended at hearing the name of Jesus.

Can Barry Lynn or any of the other atheizers show us where and when the Constitution that Washingtonvowed to preserve, protect, and defend has been amended to make references to God or Jesus Christ unconstitutional?

If the atheizers now believe we should banish all references to God and all mention of Jesus from public life, they have a right in this free republic to advocate for this change. They have a right to offer an amendment to the Constitution to bring about the naked public square they seem to crave. Maybe their friends in the Anti-Christian Litigation Unit will draft their amendment for them.

But until they amend George Washingtons Constitution, I believe Congressman Todd Akin was not too cute by half. I believe he was acute. Mr. Akin was as acute as George Washington was in acknowledging publicly his dependence on the Lord for guidance, and in expressing his gratitude for the blessings of liberty. Thank you, Congressman Akin.

Whittaker Chambers documentary competes at Indiewire

by Family Research Council

January 6, 2012

This month in 1950, Alger Hiss, an American lawyer and government official, and a Soviet spy, was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison. He was tried and convicted thanks to the efforts of Whittaker Chambers. A former communist himself, Chambers turned from what he later called the vision of Man without God and brought Hiss true political affiliations and allegiance to light. Chambers was one of our nations greatest anti-communists, and, as the author of Witness, has left a lasting mark on both conservatism and U.S. history.

Journalist and author Mark Judge is now teaming up with director Paul Moon to make a documentary about Chambers compelling and historic life.

Its a film that needs to be made for the same reasons that the works of Dante, St. Augustine and William F. Buckley (a friend of Chambers) need to be preserved, Judge said. Americas public schools and academia are certainly not interested in remembering the man who revealed Soviet espionage in the United States government.

Judge and Moons project, The Story of Whittaker Chambers, is currently competing for recognition and support at Indiewire.com. Each day Indiewire picks a Project of the Day to feature, and every week readers vote for one project to consult with an independent film website like SnagFilms or IndieGoGo. These Project of the Week winners compete to be the Project of the Month, and the winner gets to consult with the Sundance Institute, which runs the esteemed Sundance Film Festival. Voting is today, and its free. To support The Story of Whittaker Chambers, visit http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/pomzh4m to vote.

And heres a poignant and applicable quote from Chambers that should resonate today: Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a relative problem which can be solved in relative ways. Faith is the central problem of this age.

CMI on the War on Christmas

by Family Research Council

December 22, 2011

The Media Research Centers Culture and Media Institute (CMI) recently posted an article about the war on Christmas, documenting how some in the media ignore or demean attacks on Christmas as phony and fake. One of the attacks on Christmas that they list comes from JP Duffys experience at a U.S. Post Office in Silver Spring, MD.

CMI fellow Erin Brown writes, Even our tolerant Federal government is playing the Grinch card this year. According to FoxNews.com, A group of Christmas carolers was thrown out of a U.S. Post Office in Silver Spring, MD, after the post office manager told them they were not allowed to sing Christmas carols on government property.

Brown documents a long series of attacks over the last couple of years, as well as the reactions of numerous liberal media types that ignore or mock the war on Christmas.

These days, the war on Christmas is fought by the Christian right … [Catholic League President] William Donahue and Rupert Murdochs New York Post, traditional combatants in the war on Christmas, have trained their Yuletide guns on someone, not for railing out put the Christ back in Christmas, but for failing to worship Santa Claus, Keith Olbermann accused on his old MSNBC show Countdown in November of last year.

If youre not convinced that theres a war on Christmas, check out the page, and a few of the attacks it documents:

In upstate New York, one school district has declared that Christmas and Hanukkah will no longer be celebrated in classrooms. According to FOX/WROC, The Batavia City School District will no longer allow decorations for either holiday to appear in classrooms as well as teachers are discouraged from writing or saying Merry Christmas. In Fairfax County, Va., grade-schoolers are treated to winter celebration. In Texas, another school district has declared war on Christmas this time, classrooms are not allowed to celebrate Santa Claus or exchange gifts.

Some attacks on Christmas are downright weird. The Huffington Post has the Skeleton Santa story, which Brown also documents in her article.

Thankfully, this hopeful time of year isnt built on the backs of Christmas displays shimmering on lawns and in storefronts. Its founded on the birth of hope: Christ Jesus our Lord.

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