January 11, 2019
Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” The Founders included this clause so that any American, regardless of religious affiliation, could serve their country. Unfortunately, it seems that this clause has been forgotten by some of the very people who swore an oath to uphold it.
In the first two years of the Trump presidency, at least four nominees to various federal offices have faced questions about their religious beliefs, with several senators implying that those beliefs disqualify them from serving. Most recently, this happened to Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee to be a U.S. District Court Judge for Nebraska. During his confirmation hearing, Buescher faced questions and criticisms from Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) over his membership in the Knights of Columbus, with Hirono stating in her questionnaire that the Knights of Columbus holds “a number of extreme positions.” Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization that does charitable and volunteer work around the globe, including feeding the poor, picking up trash, and collecting coats for children. Both senators attacked Buescher and the Knights of Columbus for their beliefs, which are loyal to Catholic teaching that abortion is wrong and that marriage is between one man and one woman. And Buescher isn’t alone. Just a few weeks ago, Hirono and Harris attacked Paul Matey, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, for his membership in the Knights as well.
But that’s not all. In 2017, Russell Vought was nominated by President Trump to be Deputy Director for the Office of Management and Budget. During the confirmation hearing, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) angrily questioned Vought over his belief as an evangelical Christian that Muslims are “condemned” in the eyes of God. Later that year, Amy Barrett, the nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, faced similar scrutiny. A devout Catholic, Barrett was berated by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for adhering to her Church’s teaching on abortion, with Feinstein stating: “the dogma lives loudly within you and that is a concern.”
This is certainly not what our Founding Fathers envisioned. The United States was founded as a haven for religious freedom, not an oligarchy for the elite few. In fact, it was one of the main reasons that the Pilgrims and other religious dissidents made the treacherous journey across the Atlantic. They were so desperate to escape religious persecution that they risked their own lives and the lives of their families. During that day in Great Britain, sworn loyalty to the king and membership in the Church of England were required to serve in public office. Other religions need not even attempt a run for office. The colonists wanted the freedom to practice their faith openly and be able to participate in society at the same time, including serving in public office.
Since our founding, every public servant has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution; and while a person’s religion affects his worldview, each one is bound to that oath, regardless of their religion. In fact, it was a diversity of religions that helped form the Constitution. What these recent attacks represent is a disturbing trend and a very real threat to religious conservatives who want to serve in public office. As a nation, we are getting precariously close to the religious tyranny the Pilgrims experienced under British rule, the very tyranny by which patriot blood gained independence. Thousands more have died in the decades since to preserve this sacred human right. We must continue to defend the right of every individual, regardless of their religion, to serve in public office. And we must pressure elected officials to uphold all of the Constitution, not just the parts that fit their agenda. If we don’t, religious freedom—and the Republic—is in grave jeopardy.
November 29, 2018
When John James took the stage following his U.S. Senate loss in Michigan, he presented it as not as a sign of complete disappointment, but as a new chapter in his life. James is not looking for someone or something to blame for losing the election. Instead, he spoke to his supporters about what they already have achieved and what building blocks they have constructed for the future of Michigan and the U.S. Here are several key takeaways that he laid out in his concession speech on election night.
First, John saw his campaign not as a guaranteed path to victory, but as a challenge from God to step out in faith and obedience and take a stand for others. As the results were turning in favor of his opponent Debbie Stabenow, John was already looking at the accomplishments made throughout his run. “We won tonight…because we were tested. We were tested and rose to the occasion and the Lord asked us to step out of the boat. And we stepped out of the boat. And we said, Lord if you call me, I will come. And that’s what we did.”
Second, John talked about the importance of keeping loved ones close and encouraging his supporters to keep fighting for the institution of the family. His wife Elizabeth and his two sons joined him on stage to promote the welfare and institution of families across Michigan. “This is what sustains me and kept me going. This is why we’re not done. Because too many families out there don’t have the ability to live the lives we do…We still need to look out for our families. We still need to break the shackles of dependency that keep so many bolted to their situations right now. We still need to make sure we’re doing things the right way.”
With a spirit of humility and joy, John spoke of serving God through taking action not centered on temporary benefits, but for the eternal rewards in God’s kingdom. “A passion for service doesn’t end with a poll, it doesn’t end with a vote, it ends in the grave… My priority is making investments in things that no one can take away from you. Because our reward is in heaven. And we recognize that we have to love everyone, and work with anyone to serve everyone.” He further stated that “anybody can give glory to God when the times are good, but you know we’re still supposed to glorify Him in defeat.”
No matter what the outcome, John understood that God’s plans reach beyond the current moment: “He has a bigger plan than what we can understand. And I’ll tell you what, His plan is perfect. And we’re not done. And He’s not done. And you shouldn’t be done.” After thanking his supporters, John promised that “I’m not going anywhere. This is just the beginning … we have the ability to not just elect our leaders but to be our leaders.”
As John’s speech suggests, Christians should not only worship God in victory, but also worship Him in times of defeat. John understands that he has the ability to help serve and raise up those who have little. He knows that his political career is not defined by just one election. He’s using what he has learned and accomplished during his Senate run to prepare for bigger plans that God may have in store.
Watch John James’ full concession speech.
FRCA Media Office
November 7, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 6, 2018 CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Macie Malone, (866) FRC-NEWS
WASHINGTON, DC – Leading up to Election Day, Family Research Council Action (FRC Action), organized a fleet of four Values Buses that made scores of stops in a dozen battleground states and organized the distribution of nearly 2 million voter guides targeting supporters, churches, activist groups, and state/local organizations. FRC also held 140 pastor events in 19 states. FRC Action teams knocked on more than 427,000 doors and launched a social media blitz across a dozen states that were viewed more than 7 million times.
Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins released the following statement on tonight’s election results:
“Most presidents lose seats in the House and Senate in the first midterm election. But President Trump defied history, expanding the GOP majority in the Senate despite losing the House. Why? Because this is a president who has done something rare in American politics. He is fulfilling campaign promises such as stopping the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions and putting an end to 8 years of a withering assault on religious freedom.
“As they did two years ago, values voters turned out in droves — motivated by a president who is not just stopping the liberal policies of his predecessor but dismantling them.
“While Democrats appear to have narrowly taken control of the House of Representatives, they did so without any clear governing mandate. Nancy Pelosi certainly cannot claim a blanket endorsement of her radical policies. However, President Trump and Senate Republicans certainly have a mandate to confirm constitutionalists to the nation’s courts and oppose the Pelosi agenda. Consider that voters in West Virginia and Alabama approved pro-life ballot measures and polls show nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose the government’s forcing taxpayers to fund abortion. There is simply no groundswell of support for forcing taxpayers to become indentured servants to the abortion industry.
“We will stand with President Trump and Majority Leader McConnell in working to repel the Pelosi agenda that is at odds with the values that made America a great nation,” concluded Perkins.
November 5, 2018
Midterm elections have typically been regarded as a referendum on the incumbent president and congressional majorities. The nation usually looks to key Senate and House races to see who will attain the majority. However, state elections, especially ballot measures to amend Constitutions, are often overlooked. For me, growing up in the state of Oregon, midterms typically meant a fair amount of disappointment, as conservatives and pro-lifers normally have a tough time winning in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I can’t remember the last time that a conservative or a Republican won a major election in my home state. Both Senators from Oregon, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, are some of the most left-leaning Democrats in the Senate today—both have a 0 percent rating with FRC Action in Congress’ last session.
Similarly, my Republican congressional candidate has consistently been outvoted by the liberal cities in my district. While there may not be many choices for elected office for pro-lifers in the Pacific Northwest to get excited about, you might be surprised to hear that Oregon voters will have an opportunity to vote for a pro-life ballot initiative this election: Measure 106.
Oregon Measure 106 would amend the Oregon Constitution to prevent taxpayer funds from paying for abortions, with a few exceptions. The ballot language states: “The state shall not spend public funds for any abortion, except when medically necessary or as may be required by federal law.” If the measure attains a majority of votes, Oregon will become the 27th state to make state health care funded abortions illegal. This would be a massive victory for pro-life voters. Oregon is one of the most lenient states in the country when it comes to abortion. Unlike the majority of other states, Oregon allows partial birth abortions, has no waiting period, has no limit on how old the baby is at the time of the abortion, and allows minors to receive abortions without a parent’s consent. Oregon doesn’t even require that the person performing the abortion be a licensed physician. Thus, Measure 106 would be a potent tool in stemming the tide of one of the United State’s most radically pro-abortion states.
Oregon isn’t the only state with a pro-life ballot measure before the voters. Two other states, Alabama and West Virginia, have measures of their own on the 2018 ballot. Alabama’s Amendment 2 makes it state policy to “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life,” it “ensures the protection of the rights of the unborn child,” and states that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.” Similarly, West Virginia’s Amendment 1 adds language to their Constitution stating that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” If either or both of these measures pass, it will send a strong signal to the rest of the nation that outlawing abortion is something that is possible—if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
In the event that Roe is overturned, Alabama and West Virginia’s proposed amendments would make it that much easier to make abortion illegal in those states. Similarly, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota all have laws which would make abortion illegal the second that Roe is overturned, and nine more states have bans on abortion that even predate Roe. Seven more states intend to ban abortion should the case be overturned. Even if these amendments have no affect for years to come on their own, they would become the highest laws in each state if or when Roe is overturned.
Liberals are, understandably, appalled at this idea. Vox reports that they are “quite confident that Kavanaugh is a vote to overturn Roe” and that “[a]fter that point, all bets are off.” Similarly, Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:
If Brett Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court justice, will he help gut or overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in America? Yes, of course he will.
The Left is scared to death that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. That’s because they know that keeping the Supreme Court is the only way they can ensure abortion remains legal. Should Roe be overturned, the question will then become a state issue. Imagine the message it would send to the nation if voters in Alabama, Oregon, and West Virginia were able to pass pro-life amendments to their state constitutions. How many states would then be emboldened to pass similar measures themselves? How many lives would be saved? In the end, every vote for pro-life legislation is a step toward an America in which all life is cherished and loved as it was intended to be.
Alex Yun is an intern at FRC Action.
October 16, 2018
Andrew Brunson is not hesitating to fulfill his pastoral duties, even after just returning home from Turkey after two years of imprisonment. The pastor visited the Oval Office on October 13, asking the President if he could pray for him. “I need it probably more than anyone else in this room, so that would be very nice, thank you,” the President replied.
Brunson’s prayer follows: “Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump. That you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him. I ask that you give him wisdom on how to lead this country into righteousness. I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine. I ask that you make him a great leader for this country. Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance, and we bless him. May he be a great blessing to our country. In Jesus’ name, we bless you. Amen.”
Brunson’s wife Norine, also offered condolence in prayer, “I pray that the spirit of the Lord rest on the president. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. Amen.”
The emphasis of Pastor Brunson and his wife’s prayers lays a heart-warming and encouraging message for the Christian community. No matter what trial we may be experiencing, Christians are called to be God-conscious in their lives to allow God to work through the people who are representing us as a nation. George Washington once said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” Prayer is an action we take of opening a door to allow God to answer the needs we place before Him. In addition, prayer isn’t solely the act of supporting one another, but also the allowance of God to work in our hearts and be changed more to reflect His image instead of of our own. Our President, Congressmen, Supreme Court justices, and those even at the state and local levels, need our prayers of support for decisions to be made with prudence, since what they do will effectively either prosper or harm us. Romans 1:28 forewarns us of those who don’t acknowledge God. Those who don’t are declared by God to be given “up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Without the action of prayer, God cannot lead us in unity or humble us to live in His fruit of humility, kindness, patience, and joy. We will be more susceptible to giving in to our own ambitions.
American Founders such as Samuel Adams heeded prayer as a necessity to keep the blessings of God abounding throughout our nation. “May every citizen in the army and in the country have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of that declaration recorded in the Bible: ‘Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed’” [1 Samuel 2:30]. Mankind alone cannot hope to obtain the right to true wisdom and understanding if they do not understand the precedent of acknowledging the Creator. The Creator who crafted us in principle and love to serve each other under the guidelines of the teachings of Jesus Christ, who He himself arose “early in the morning, while it was still dark,” (Mark 1:35) to pray to the Father. Jesus came to earth as a servant, to be obedient to the Father and submit Himself to His will. If we truly desire an eternal relationship with the Father, then we must abide by the Son’s example.
Let us remember what Abraham Lincoln once said: “[I]t is the duty of nations as well … and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord [Psalm 33:12]… . But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace — too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
In our time, let us never allow ourselves to be too proud or distracted by what happens on this earth to drive us astray from praying to our Father in heaven for each other and our leaders. Take some time in a quiet place. He’s always willing to listen.
October 5, 2018
WASHINGTON - More than 100 women traveled to Washington, D.C. from across the United States to pray for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Ford, and the Senate as they voted on cloture today.
The prayer event was organized by Concerned Women for America, who has also launched a “#womenforkavanaugh” campaign in support of his nomination to the United States Supreme Court. CWA chose today’s date for the prayer event as the Senate voted 51-49 in a motion to invoke cloture, thus ceasing all debate and advancing Kavanaugh to the full Senate floor for confirmation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he will hold the confirmation vote on Saturday, October 6th.
President and CEO of CWA Penny Nance led the crowd in a prayer outside Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) office, praying for wisdom, courage, and unity among the political parties. Grassley is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who voted 11-10 last week to advance Kavanaugh to a full Senate confirmation vote.
Following the prayer, the group of women, joined by a small group of men, split into smaller groups to visit the offices of senators who voted for cloture and to thank them for supporting Kavanaugh. The group was particularly enthusiastic to visit the offices of senators who were on the fence about voting for Kavanaugh but reluctantly agreed to vote “yea.”
These four major swing votes in question were from Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Manchin, the only Democrat among the four and the only Senate Democrat who ended up voting “yea” on the cloture, received a packed office full of grateful supporters and angry opposers. Capitol Hill Police were called to respond to the crowd after they repeatedly ignored a staffer’s demands to be civil. No arrests were made at the time. Senator Murkowski was the only Republican to vote “nay.”
Janae Stracke, National Field Director for CWA, told FRC Action that the way Democrats are treating Kavanaugh will carry adverse ramifications for them in the upcoming mid-terms.
“They are thinking about their sons, their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, they don’t like that our country could be heading in a direction where you’re guilty until proven innocent. That’s not America and people are standing up against it. So, I think it will show in the midterms.”
Stracke was clear to show that CWA also has great concern for victims of sexual assault, even alluding to sexual crimes against women who have worked in her organization and her friends.
“We understand where these people are coming from and the hurt that comes from that. And we want there to be justice for sexual assault survivors. And we want there to be justice. But pinning this on an innocent man is not justice. If there was ever evidence that he did assault doctor Ford, we would be the first to step back our support of him. But the fact is that there is absolutely no corroboration to her story.”
FRCA Media Office
September 21, 2018
Values Voter Summit 2018 started today. Here are transcripts from select speakers:
July 11, 2018
Founded in 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a subsection of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE was formed as a result of the 2002 Homeland Security Act, which was passed in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack in an effort to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. Many would argue this policy has been successful, as many subsequent terrorist attacks have been thwarted by DHS, have been smaller in scope, or have been perpetrated by lone-wolf terrorists who were U.S. citizens and not illegal immigrants.
Recently, ICE has come under protest in light of their actions at the U.S. border with Mexico. Under President Trump’s immigration ban, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court in the case of Trump v. Hawaii, America’s borders are closed to identified countries struggling with social unrest and the rising of terrorist regimes. This ban is not a “Muslim ban,” as many on the Left have called it, but a proactive move by the president to protect America’s borders, while the immigration policy is reworked to ensure American lives are protected. ICE, a government funded agency, is required to follow the executive orders of the president and the ruling of the Supreme Court.
Those who are protesting ICE are berating men and women who have committed to protecting our borders and following the higher decrees of our nation’s leaders at the risk of their own lives. ICE was created not only to enforce border control, but also to prevent human trafficking, smuggling of illegal goods across our border, and to prevent terrorism. Throughout the years, ICE has created alternatives for detention programs, created apps to help prevent child exploitation on the internet and track children that have been abducted by sex trafficking rings, and broken up complex smuggling operations by drug cartels within U.S. borders. In 2017, a group of protestors, assuming ICE was exporting immigrants, demonstrated against ICE while they were arresting a sex-trafficking ring in California.
The current protest against ICE is based on the separation of families at the Texas-Mexico border. While the media is focusing on the separation of families and the injustice this is causing, the media is neglecting to share the reason for the separation. The separation is due to the president’s enforcement of the “zero-tolerance policy” at the border. This policy requires that those who cross the border illegally are subject to criminal charges. While waiting for prosecution for the criminal charges, the parents are placed in prison, certainly no place for children. That is why the families are separated until the children can be sent to relatives or shelters. It’s important to note that family separation occurred under the Obama presidency as well, a fact often ignored by the mainstream media. The practice of separating children from incarcerated parents is common procedure in American law. If a minor’s parents are sent to prison for a criminal offense, then the minor is placed with a relative or in the foster care system. There are also cases when human trafficking rings will pose as families to get the children across the border. In addition, drug rings use children to smuggle drugs over the border because they are less likely to be detained. This is what is happening at the border, but it’s certainly not the story that is being told. The same practice was occurring under previous presidencies, but to a lesser extent, as the president has the right to choose which laws he strictly enforces.
At the border, ICE is responding to possible drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other criminal offenses. ICE is following the laws enforced by the president and the Supreme Court of the U.S. ICE already has an extremely difficult job—the protests of the people whom ICE agents swore to protect are needlessly making their jobs more difficult. Those who are protesting ICE need to realize that when proactive actions are taken, it is hard to measure their success, as the wreckage from the adverted disaster is never felt.
June 27, 2018
Later this year, gubernatorial elections will occur across the country, in which individuals have the opportunity to shape the future of their states in both the governor and lieutenant governor positions. However, statistics show that turnout for these elections drops by over 30 percent when compared with voter turnout during presidential elections. While Kentucky, California, New York, and many other states are also experiencing voter percentages dropping for local elections, let’s focus on Virginia’s statistics. Virginia’s Department of Elections Board reports that in 2016, 72 percent of registered voters turned out to the polls to vote in the presidential election. However, the years both before and after the election year show diminishing results. In 2015, only 21 percent of registered voters participated in local elections, and in 2017, only 47.6 percent of registered voters participated in local elections.
These statistics show the emphasis that has been placed on presidential elections over state elections. As the federal government has become involved in more and more aspects of our lives, the influence of the state is being forgotten. The millennial generation, which is known for wanting to make a positive impact, composes a large majority of the current voting population that is not participating in state elections. While change on a federal level may have the most widespread results, voters today are forgetting the tremendous opportunity they have by being able to influence their own state legislation.
In the case of the upcoming state governor elections, voters have the chance to influence the path their state will follow for the next four years. Each state government is modeled after the workings of the federal government. The state governor has the authority, in a majority of states, to appoint the state judiciary, to control the executive budget, and to enforce a legislative veto. Over the course of two or four years, many new laws can be enacted and enforced that either strengthen or weaken an individual’s freedom.
An example of this is a state’s ability to pass a Government Nondiscrimination Act, which would ensure religious liberties relating to the biblical definition of marriage are protected. While the case of Obergefell v. Hodges proclaimed the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the states retain the power to ensure that Christians and other religious people are not forced to affirm this definition of marriage in their lives and businesses. Participation in state elections allows individuals to advocate for their states to protect their rights and avoid being penalized for holding to a biblical definition of marriage.
The Founding Fathers originally determined that state government should have more power than the federal government. If participation and understanding of the importance of state elections were recognized by more of the voting population, decisions such as Roe v. Wade could have been tempered in their influence, for voters would elect politicians seeking to limit the expansiveness of how abortion is practiced. As governor and lieutenant governor elections fast approach, the burden is on the people to shape the future of their state and make a change, as many millennials desire. This can be achieved by contacting local officials and participating in the upcoming governor and lieutenant governor elections.
Emily Weatherholt is an intern at FRC Action.
June 12, 2018
With so many advancements in the field of medicine, people have access to more life-saving treatments than perhaps ever before. Hundreds of thousands of federal tax dollars go towards research of such treatments with the goal of giving people the best quality of life possible. However, the Left has exploited this funding to accomplish their own radical agenda, often at the expense of the well-being of patients.
One of these cases involves stem cell research. When National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins began his tenure in 2009, he specifically directed funding to be used for embryonic stem cell research—to the tune of 200 million taxpayer dollars per year. We know that the embryo is a human life and that destroying it for research is not only profoundly evil but a blatant breach of basic ethical scientific practice, a fact which Dr. Collins either ignores or denies. But as director of an institution designed to help Americans live better lives, he also ignores established research about stem cells.
According to Dr. David Prentice of the Charlotte B. Lozier Institute, embryonic stem cells have failed to produce even one cure for a deadly or debilitating disease. On the other hand, adult stem cell research has produced over 70 treatments for deadly and debilitating conditions such as cancer, lupus, and scleroderma. To date, adult stem cell research has helped over one million people. Every year, there are 20,000 adult stem cell transplants in the United States alone that help Americans live better lives.
There are two fundamental principles at stake in this debate. First is the morality of ending a human life. Taxpayers should not be forced to violate their conscience by paying for embryonic stem cell research, and our government should certainly not be involved in it. The other fundamental issue is if we want to support research that would improve people’s lives or continue promoting a destructive agenda at their expense.
In 2017, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced the Patients First Act that would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the NIH to instead spend that $200 million every year on adult stem cell research. Rep. Banks recently stopped by FRC headquarters to tell us more about his bill and how it would protect the consciences of taxpayers and help those dealing with deadly and debilitating diseases. Check out his lecture here.
Finally, contact your representative in Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the Patients First Act.