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Watch Do No Harm: The Peril of Physician-Assisted Suicide

by FRC Action

May 19, 2017

By authorizing doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath of “do no harm,” physician-assisted suicide undermines our nation’s most cherished values of providing compassionate care to the sick and dying. Assisted suicide prevents vulnerable citizens with life-limiting illnesses from receiving the best palliative medical care when they need it most. Earlier this year, Washington, D.C. joined six other states in legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

As a physician of over 25 years and a strong supporter of patient rights and access to quality care, Congressman Brad Wenstrup has led the charge in Congress to repeal the D.C. law and ensure that safeguards stay in place to protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Congressman Wenstrup shared with the Family Research Council why physician-assisted suicide should not be a partisan issue, but a human issue. Some of his arguments that he used include:

  • Moving personal accounts of families who were drawn closer together through the death of a loved one, experiences that would have been cut short or missed altogether if assisted suicide.
  • The lack of accountability in tracking potential abuses that comes with these laws.
  • The lethal drug that is used to commit assisted suicide has in many cases been used to kill people who do not have a terminal illness.
  • Assisted suicide decreases options for patients, because insurance companies would rather fund lethal drugs instead of potentially life-saving procedures, since it is often the cheapest means of “treatment.”

Do No Harm: The Peril of Physician-Assisted Suicide provides valuable information on why physician-assisted suicide isn’t just bad policy, but bad for humanity. Congressman Wenstrup’s extensive medical background and personal experience with cancer in his own family gives him unique insight into why this policy is detrimental to society by way of its devaluing of human life.

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A New Chapter in American History

by FRC Action

May 16, 2017

Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was interviewed by Fox News anchor Shannon Bream on President Trump’s commencement address to the graduates of Liberty University.

Tony’s statements echo the sentiment of many evangelical Americans who are finally seeing steps taken on the issues that motivated them to go to the ballot box. In this interview, Tony details some of the promises that have been kept by the Trump administration. As Tony states, we are truly seeing the beginning of a new chapter in American history.

See the transcript of his comments below:

>> Shannon: Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president and Liberty grad, joins me now. Thank you for joining us this morning Tony.

>> Tony: Good morning Shannon.

>> Shannon: To me the line that stood out was “we don’t worship the government; we worship God as Americans.” It’s a different message than what we’ve heard over the past few years and it seems like one the president tailored to that audience.

>>Tony: Without question. I think this was the president at his best. This was not only a great day for the graduates of 2017, I think it was a great day for the university. As a graduate of Liberty University, I’m proud of where this university has come in its short tenure, relatively speaking. I think the president really set the stage. He was not only speaking to the graduates, but I think he was speaking to his evangelical base across the country. One of the things that stuck out to me was this; he said, “We will always stand up for the right of all Americans to pray to God and to follow his teachings. America is beginning a new chapter.” If you look at what we’ve seen over the past eight years with the hostility toward religious expression outside of the four walls of a church, I do believe we have begun a new chapter in American history.

>> Shannon: He signed an executive order a couple of weeks ago and there were people within the evangelical community who were disappointed. They said it didn’t have enough teeth and that it was too watered down by people in the administration, possibly the Trump family, who may not have understood its aims or may have thought it could be construed to be negative and discriminatory. What did you make of the order?

>> Tony: I was there in the Rose Garden when he signed this and I had been discussing this for weeks with the administration. They’ve learned how every move they make is being challenged in the courts and I think they’ve grown wise in that. I think they’ve taken a strategic approach. Even so, most people don’t realize that portions of that order have already been challenged in court by atheist organizations. But I think this executive order is just one of many examples. Look at the selections he’s made to the Supreme Court and the lower courts. Look at what he’s done on the repeal and replace of Obamacare. There are pro-life provisions in there; defunding Planned Parenthood. Look, his speech matters; rhetoric is not just pure rhetoric. There is a record that he is amassing to back that up. We have truly begun a new chapter in American history where we have an administration that is not only welcoming of faith, but he said in his executive order that they will “vigorously protect and promote religious freedom.” For evangelicals that’s music to our ears.

>> Shannon: Well after the past few years with the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Hobby Lobby cases, that’s a different message that a lot of people want to hear. He also talked about being an outsider and how you should relish that opportunity, that was his message to the students, but it seems like something that he really relishes too, kind of stirring things up and poking people and doing things in a very different way.

>> Tony: Shannon, I think that’s why evangelicals in the end were attracted to him, because while they may have a slightly different world view, they face the same critics. I spoke at Liberty last fall right before the election, and my message was not very different from his. The crowd was a little smaller, but the message was live out your faith in the face of those who criticize you and have no fear of man, only a reverence for God, and I think that essentially was his message. Face your critics and live out your faith. You have an administration that is going to provide cover for you to do that.

>> Shannon: Well the crowd was smaller when I spoke at commencement, we’re not presidents. But anyway, Tony Perkins, good to see you, thanks.

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So What’s the Big Deal About the Johnson Amendment?

by FRC Action

May 11, 2017

As you know, President Trump recently issued an executive order on religious freedom and has talked a great deal about the need to repeal the Johnson Amendment. Most are wondering what would need to happen legislatively to repeal the Johnson Amendment and restore religious freedom and free speech to churches and nonprofit organizations.

FRC hosted a Family Policy Lecture on the Free Speech Fairness Act with Congressman Jody Hice (R-Ga.) a week ago. In case you missed it, you can view the lecture here.

So what does this legislation do?

Americans should not have to give up their right to free speech when they work for a church or a nonprofit. Yet, that is the legal state of affairs under the “Johnson Amendment.” The Free Speech Fairness Act is a bill that restores free speech and religious liberty to churches and other nonprofits so that they are free to address all issues – even political candidates and causes. This bill is needed because America was built on the principle that free speech and the free exercise of religion are inalienable rights for all citizens.

This policy lecture will help you stay informed on this important piece of legislation, and it lays out the specific reasons why all Americans, especially pastors, need to be concerned about keeping speech free and fair.

Click here to view the webinar.

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10 Things to Ask Your Member of Congress During the Congressional Recess

by FRC Action

February 24, 2017

Congress has adjourned for President’s Day week, and Congressmen and Senators are traveling throughout their Districts and states hosting town halls and public forums. Asking questions at these events is a great way for you to help your elected representatives understand issues of concern for you and your family. For town hall schedules, call or visit the website of your Senators and Congressman (click here if you don’t know who your members of Congress are). Use this issue guide to raise topics related to the sanctity of life, marriage, family, and religious freedom.


To Ask Your Congressman and Senators:

 

  1. Do you support repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood as Congress did in 2015 only to have President Obama veto it?
  2. Will you commit to oppose abortion funding or subsidies for health insurance in any Republican plan to replace Obamacare? The House just passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to make the Hyde Amendment ban on funding and subsidizing insurance with abortion coverage permanent and government wide. These principles should be applied to any new GOP plan to replace Obamacare in the coming weeks.
  3. Will you support efforts to stop the onerous abuse of the “Johnson Amendment” by supporting the Free Speech Fairness Act sponsored by Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.)? This legislation ensures pastors and non-profits can engage in speech about political candidates so long as they do so during their normal non-profit activities and spend no more than a minimal amount on the candidate-related speech. It prevents liberal activist organizations and the IRS from threatening pastors and churches for speaking up on political issues.
  4. Will you support legislation to stop government discrimination against people who still believe that marriage is between one man and one woman? While the Supreme Court overturned the natural definition of marriage adopted into law by over 30 states, many people still respectfully believe marriage is between one man and one woman and should not be punished by the government for acting in accordance with that belief.
  5. Will you support passage of the “Conscience Protection Act” sponsored by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) to ensure the federal government does not discriminate against pro-life health care entities who object to being forced to participate in abortion?
  6. Will you support a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which bars abortion on 5-month-old unborn babies when they begin to experience severe pain? This bill is sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and has previously passed the House twice.
  7. Will you oppose the so-called “Equality Act” which would force special protections for homosexual and transsexual lifestyles in 25 areas of federal law—with no religious liberty protections for people of faith who disagree with these lifestyles and same-sex marriage?
  8. Will you support the Born Alive Survivor’s Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ark.) and Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.), that requires doctors to provide the same care for infants born alive after an abortion that is otherwise provided to born alive infants? 

To Ask Just Your Senators:

  1. Will you support a vote on the recently House-passed “Disapproval Resolution” to block the Obama administration’s Title X regulation issued last December which punishes states that redirect family planning funds from Planned Parenthood to more holistic community health centers?
  2. With the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, will you vote to approve him since he will defend the original meaning of the Constitution and overturn Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges that forced abortion and same-sex marriage on all 50 states?

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What Americans Want In Their Next Supreme Court Justice

by FRC Action

January 31, 2017

President Trump has set January 31 as the date of announcing his Supreme Court pick to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2016 Election exit polling, 2 in 10 voters (21 percent) said that appointments to the Supreme Court was the most important issue to them. These voters broke for Trump 56-41 percent. Exit polling also revealed that 7 in 10 voters nationwide say Supreme Court appointments were either the most important factor or an important factor in their decision to support a candidate.

This is a critical appointment by President Trump as he seeks to solidify the trust the American people have placed in him and provide leadership that will preserve their values, freedoms, and rights of conscience.

A recent poll conducted by the The Marist Poll revealed that 8 in 10 Americans (80 percent) say it is an “immediate priority” or an “important” one to appoint Supreme Court Justices that will interpret the Constitution as it was originally written. Fifty-three percent of Independents, 80 percent of Republicans and more than 4 in 10 Democrats (42 percent) also say it is an “immediate priority.” Almost 9 in 10 Americans (89 percent) also see protecting religious freedom as a priority, including 57 percent who describe it as an “immediate priority” and 32 percent who consider it an “important” one.

The American people clearly have overwhelming support for a Supreme Court Justice who will uphold the original intent of the constitution and protect religious freedom.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently vowed that he and his party will do everything they can to block a conservative Supreme Court nominee by the Trump administration—saying  he is prepared to fight “tooth and nail” should Trump not choose a “mainstream” nominee.

In reality, Schumer’s statement is extremely out of touch with “mainstream” America.

What he fails to recognize is that the mainstream does not support his views. The GOP has control of the White House, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures for a reason.  The fact is that one of the Republican Party’s most conservative platforms ever was adopted in 2016 and was accepted by the majority of America. Post-election polling showed that a majority of registered voters said the social issues in the Republican platform impacted their vote (51 percent), and 59 percent of Trump voters said that this impacted their presidential vote, compared to just 48 percent of Clinton supporters.

The American people have clearly spoken, and unfortunately for the Left, it was not in their favor. Voters went to the polls and chose a more conservative president to pick a conservative originalist Justice to the bench. 

In the 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, the High Court inserted itself into a significant moral debate and attempted to redefine the meaning of marriage for every American. In Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a 5-3 bench decision, the Court ruled that placing Texas abortion clinics in the same safety category as any other out-patient surgical clinic is too burdensome. This would have simply required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility in case there is an emergency or complications. Do we need to be reminded of Gosnell?

These are just a couple of the many rulings that have made the Supreme Court a top concern for American voters. President Trump’s promise to nominate a Justice in the mold of the late Justice Scalia was a breath of fresh air to an American public that is increasingly concerned about judicial activism and how it is impacting the moral fabric of the country. While there is little doubt that Sen. Schumer will do everything he can to stop a conservative, originalist Justice, his views do not represent the mainstream views of the American people. The nation is eager for a Justice who will not legislate from the bench but instead respect the Constitution and interpret it as our Founders intended.

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Pro-Life Bills You Should Know About in 2017

by FRC Action

January 26, 2017

As we approach the March for Life tomorrow, we have an unprecedented opportunity before us to advance the culture of life with a unified pro-life House, Senate, and president. Here are some bills you should know about for 2017 that will defend the innocent and protect the consciences of the American people. This year, like never before, let your representatives know of your support for these crucial measures that will save lives.

1. S.184/H.R.7 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would permanently codify the Hyde Amendment and apply it across all federal government programs, preventing federal funds from paying for elective abortion and health care plans that include elective abortion coverage. This bill (H.R.7) passed the House on January 24, 2017, and its Senate companion bill (S.184) is currently pending a vote in the Senate.

2. H.R.37/S.220 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

This bill requires health care practitioners to treat babies born alive after failed abortion attempts with the same care they would provide to a baby born at the same gestational age. Additionally, it includes penalties for the intentional killing of infants born alive. The bill also gives the mother of a child born alive a private right of action to seek relief in case an abortionist were to kill her born-alive infant.

3. H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This bill will ban abortions after 20 weeks’ post-fertilization, the point at which science tells us a child can feel excruciating pain.

4. Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (pending introduction)

With this budget reconciliation bill, a special legislative vehicle that can pass the Senate with just 51 votes, pro-lifers can see Obamacare gutted, stopping subsidies for health care plans that cover abortion and see over $400 million rescinded in annual mandatory spending that currently funds Planned Parenthood. These taxpayer dollars would then be reallocated to other federally-qualified health centers that do not provide abortion. This bill passed the House and Senate in 2016, but unfortunately former President Obama vetoed it. President Trump has indicated that he would sign this legislation.

5. Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (pending introduction)

This bill would ban dismemberment abortions in which unborn children are brutally torn apart limb from limb (also known as dilation and evacuation abortion).

6. Conscience Protection Act (pending introduction)

This bill would stop discrimination against pro-lifer Americans, by the government and entities it funds, who object to being forced to participate in abortion (such as doctors). This bill would codify abortion conscience laws like the Weldon Amendment that have to be re-added to annual spending bills, and the bill would give pro-life victims of discrimination the right to sue in court.

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The Top 20 Actions for the Trump Administration in the First 100 Days

by FRC Action

January 19, 2017

Each presidential administration has the opportunity to impact everyday Americans in significant ways by issuing executive orders, agency regulations, and administrative guidance through memoranda, letters, and other internal documents issued by the agencies and departments of the Executive Branch.

In the last eight years, the Obama administration enacted a great number of Executive Orders and agency actions that Many of these were extra-legal or illegal and it is critical that this lawlessness be undone.

Here are the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty and put our nation on the right track.

Action #1 — Restore The Mexico City Policy

The Obama administration rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which was first implemented by President Reagan, to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding international organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas. Millions of taxpayer dollars have funded abortion providers like International Planned Parenthood. One way to address the problem of funding abortion providers overseas is to rescind Obama’s Memorandum on the Mexico City Policy, issued January 23, 2009, and to restore President George W. Bush’s Memorandum Restoring the Mexico City Policy, issued on March 29, 2001.

Action #2 — Defund UNFPA

The Obama administration restored funding to the United Nations Population Fund which funds coercive abortion practices overseas, especially in China. Funding such entities violates current law prohibiting U.S. funds from involvement in coercive abortion practices. One way to fix this problem is to restore President George W. Bush’s State Department restriction on UNFPA funding first issued on July 24, 2002, and continued through fiscal year 2008.

Action #3 — Establish Transparency Regarding Obamacare’s Abortion Coverage

Americans should be informed about whether their Obamacare plans cover abortion or not, especially since even the abortion funding schemes in Obamacare require such notice and a “separate” payment for abortion in such plans. However, the Obama administration implemented rules issued on February 27, 2015 allowing insurers to hide the abortion surcharge in plans that cover abortion, and which are subsidized by federal premium credits. Moreover, the ACA requires multistate plans to provide one pro-life plan in each state. However, rules issued on February 24, 2015 implementing this requirement do not require pro-life plans until next year.

Another example of lawlessness is the Obama administration’s rule on October 2, 2013 which allowed federal employee subsidies for health plans with abortion coverage for Members of Congress and their staff, despite current law forbidding such subsidies.

Action #4 — Withdraw Title X Planned Parenthood Funding

The Obama administration proposed a rule on September 7, 2016 to block states from defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from Title X. This problematic rule would harm states that have chosen to prioritize family planning funds for health clinics and community health centers that seamlessly offer a full range of healthcare services including family planning, but do not participate in abortion. This problem could be fixed by simply withdrawing the proposed Title X regulation.

Action #5 — Defund Human-Animal Chimera Research

The Obama administration proposed a new NIH policy, issued on August 5, 2016, that would allow for NIH to fund human-animal chimera research. The proposed scope of funding would include research which attempts to give an animal (a chimp, pig, mouse, etc.) a substantially human brain or the ability to produce human sperm or egg cells, which can affect heredity. This serious violation of bioethics and common human decency could be fixed by simply withdrawing the proposed chimera funding policy.

Action #6 — Defund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The Obama administration issued an executive order on March 9, 2009 that allowed funding for embryo-destructive stem cell research by narrowing the enforcement of the Dickey-Wicker amendment in federal law which prevents funding for research that harms or destroys human embryos. The administration rescinded human embryo protections in federal research put in place by President Bush, and implemented its embryo-destructive research policies on July 30,

2009 in NIH’s “Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research.” One way to address the Obama administration’s approval of embryo-destructive research funding is to restore President George W. Bush’s June 20, 2007 executive order protecting human embryos in federally funded research and by redirecting funding for ethical stem cell and regenerative research proving effective in the treatment of patients for numerous diseases.

Action #7 — Reform Federally Funded IVF Regulations

On April 3, 2012, the Obama administration’s DOD began funding IVF treatments for active military personnel but without sufficient protections for human embryos created in the process.

The FY17 Military, Constructions, Veterans Affairs appropriations law expanded this allowance to include veterans, and while it cross-referenced the Dickey-Wicker amendment which protects against funding embryo destruction under the Health and Human Services Department, it did not explicitly prevent against embryo destruction. One way to address the embryo protection issue in IVF treatments is to direct DOD and VA to only fund IVF fertility treatments in which human embryos are not knowingly destroyed, discarded, donated to research, or otherwise harmed prior to embryo transfer.

Action #8 — Establish Ethical Tissue Research

The Obama administration’s DOJ has refused to investigate potential violations of federal fetal tissue laws and federal medical privacy laws by abortion providers and tissue procurement companies. A way to address this issue is for DOJ to investigate potential violations of the law revealed in shocking undercover videos and in the work of the House Energy and Commerce’s Select Panel on Infant Lives by abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and by human tissue procurement companies like Stem Express for: (a) selling fetal tissue for profit; (b) changing abortion methods without consent for tissue procurement; (c) violating HIPPA privacy protections for women in their obtaining and selling of fetal tissue; (d) procuring fraudulent IRB certifications; and (e) potentially killing born-alive babies for the purpose of organ harvesting.

Another way to address this issue is to direct HHS/NIH to implement a moratorium on fetal tissue research in which the tissue was derived from aborted fetuses, while ethical alternatives are explored. In this regard, the administration should revise the “Policy and Procedures for Obtaining Human Fetal Tissue for Research Purposes in the Intramural Research Program at NIH,” which was issued on December 15, 2015, but last updated October 7, 2016, and should restore President George H.W. Bush’s May 19, 1992 rules establishing a fetal tissue bank obtained from ethical sources like ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.

Action #9 — Nullify The HHS Contraception Mandate

The Obama administration’s HHS contraceptive mandate that requires all employers to offer no-cost contraceptive drugs and devices is a troubling threat to conscience, especially since it involves coverage of some pills and procedures which can destroy human embryos. While the Supreme Court upheld the right of businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, Inc. from the regulation, the Obama administration issued a regulation with an accounting gimmick for the non-profit “religious organizations” on July 2, 2013. This problem could be fixed by ending all litigation enforcing the HHS contraception mandate, issuing broad conscience exemptions from mandates requiring coverage of any health services or items that violate the beliefs of a religious organization, and revising the HRSAWomen’s Preventive Services Guidelines” to exclude the provision of drugs or devices which can destroy human embryos.

Action #10 — Restore Healthcare Conscience Protections

Among our first freedoms, enshrined in the First Amendment, is the right to freedom of religion and of conscience. The Obama administration has often undermined religious freedom by refusing to enforce conscience protections in existing federal law to address violations in California, New York, and other states. On June 21, 2016, HHS issued a letter which narrowly reinterpreted the Weldon Amendment to exclude instances in which, for instance, California churches are being forced by the state to cover elective abortion in their health care plans. On February 23, 2011, the Obama administration also issued regulations that repealed the Bush rules enforcing federal conscience protection laws. One way to address these conscience issues is by rescinding the 2016 HHS letter regarding the Weldon Amendment. Another action which could be taken is restoring President George Bush’s December 19, 2008 regulation, “Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law.”

Action #11 — Rescind Hospital Requirements Regarding Treatment of People Identifying as Transgender

On June 16, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule under the auspices of promoting innovation, flexibility, and improvement in patient care, but which is expected to require federally regulated health care entities to violate their conscience. The rule will force hospitals and other providers to implement policies to provide medical services related to gender identity or sexual orientation.

Action #12 — Rescind Obama’s Title IX Bathroom Guidance

The Obama administration’s Department of Education issued guidance to redefine sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity for schools, which is currently being litigated. This guidance would force schools to allow boys into the shower rooms and bathrooms with girls and vice versa. It is possible for the new administration to rescind the May 13, 2016, “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” and the May 2016 “Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students,” and to rescind parts of the April 29, 2014 “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” and parts of the April 2015 “Title IX Resource Guide.”

Action #13 — Take Down the Title IX Waiver List

In accordance with the Obama administration’s hostility toward religion, and in response to requests from the Human Rights Campaign, the Department of Education issued a black list of religious institutions of higher education that requested waivers from Title IX requirements, as well as, in some cases, their applications and the Department’s responses. This list, linked from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “Religious Exemption” page, should not be subject to public search and should be taken down.

Action #14 — Rescind Regulations Redefining Sex to Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The Obama administration also issued regulations redefining sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity for multiple agencies. These redefinitions have far-reaching implications for homeless shelters that received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, renters of facilities managed by the General Services Administration, medical care providers, and private employers.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services issued the May 18, 2016, “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities,” that defined “on the basis of sex” in Section 1557 of the Obamacare law to include “termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom” and “gender identity.” The rule states that it is discriminatory for a covered entity to deny or limit coverage “or impose additional cost sharing or other limitations or restrictions on coverage, for any health services that are ordinarily or exclusively available to individuals of one sex, to a transgender individual.” It also prohibits covered entities from categorically excluding gender transitions from coverage, and from denying or limiting coverage or imposing additional costs for specific health services related to gender transition if such denial, limitation, or restriction results in discrimination against a transgender individual.

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a resource guide addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, in June of 2015, which prohibits private employers from taking sexual orientation and gender identity into consideration in the hiring and termination of employees. All of these regulations should be rescinded.

Action #15 — Address Regulations Regarding Military Service of People Identifying as Transgender

The Obama administration decided to change the long-standing regulatory policy excluding persons who identify as transgender to serve in the military. In conjunction with that decision, the Department of Defense issued a number of regulations that undermine troop readiness, recruitment, and retention. Examples of regulations that should be addressed include the June 30, 2016 “In-Service Transition for Transgender Service Members,” the July 29, 2016 “Guidance for Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Active and Reserve Component Service Members,” and the September 30, 2016 handbook on transgender service in the U.S. Military.

Action #16 — Defend the Freedom to Believe in Natural Marriage

The administration should issue an executive order protecting federal employees and contractors from discrimination by the executive branch on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman. In the wake of the Obergefell ruling redefining “marriage,” agency actions have put pressure on those who continue to support the stance President Obama had prior to 2013 that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Action #17 — Rescind Common Core Requirements

The administration should rescind, in part, the letter regarding ESEA Flexibility, issued September 22, 2011, that allows for states to receive an exemption from key standards of No Child Left Behind. The letter added ambiguous requirements for states to receive a waiver, and used this waiver authority to allow the Department of Education to pressure states over educational standards related to curricula, such as with Common Core.

Action #18 — Strengthen DOD Religious Freedom Protection

The Obama administration issued regulations (AFI 1-1, SECNAVINST 1730.8B, and AR 600- 20) that limited the standards articulated in Section 532 and 533 of the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act to protect expressions of belief reflecting conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs. The strict scrutiny standard of religious liberty protection concerning the least restrictive means as articulated in DOD Instruction 1300.17 should also be included in the Air Force directive. In addition, this directive should require the Air Force to remove Section 2.12 from AFI 1-1.

The new Congress and administration should also pressure the service chiefs to promulgate messages reaffirming the robust religious freedom and free speech rights of chaplains. These messages should include the articulation of such protections in Section 533 of the FY2013 and Section 532 of the FY2014 NDAA, and should note chaplains’ speech is not limited in the same manner that other government employee speech may be limited.

Action #19 — Adhere to the International Religious Freedom Act

The Obama administration was woefully resistant to protecting religious freedom in its foreign policy stance, and was late to describe the persecution of certain religious minorities as genocide. The new administration and Congress should promote religious freedoms throughout the federal government engaged in overseas activities by calling attention to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-292, as amended by Public Law 106-55, Public Law 106-113, Public Law 107-228, Public Law 108-332, Public Law 108-458, Public Law 112-75, Public Law 113-271, and Public Law 114-71), and ensuring these laws are followed.

Action #20 — Increase American Influence on Religious Freedom Abuses Abroad

The new administration and Congress should seriously consider maintaining a list of prisoners persecuted abroad on account of their faith, and also identify foreign officials responsible for religious freedom abuses (and where appropriate, publish their names in the Federal Register). In addition, the government should compile a list of opportunities to condition visa grants and other actions based on their support of religious freedom.

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Why We Can’t Wait: A Call for MLK-like Leadership

by Patrina Mosley

January 16, 2017

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist…if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies—a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.”

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963), Why We Can’t Wait

These are powerful and prophetic words from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., words that should be heeded today; for we can no longer wait to wake up from this racial nightmare that we are now in where black liberation ideologies are being foisted on the minds of young Americans. A teacher’s organization is encouraging teachers to provide Black Lives Matter (BLM) curriculum in the classroom one day every week, along with wearing BLM apparel. One teacher who has gotten on board with this agenda says “Black Lives Matter functions with 13 principles that I think are good and healthy for kids to learn about.” Considering what the Black Lives Matter movement has publically stated, this is a frightening prospect. Instead, children should be learning about the inspiring leadership of Dr. King, whose philosophy and principles we have all benefited from today. BLM is the very “black nationalist” ideology he warned would try to fill the void for truth if left vacant.

The Black Lives Matter movement states that they are “a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life and “to (re)build the Black liberation movement” (emphasis added). What does that mean? To answer that we need to look at who the Black Liberation movement was. The Black Liberation movement, more commonly known as the Black Liberation Army (BLA), was a splinter group developed after the Black Panther Party dissolved. Their four badges of honor were anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-imperialism. Secondly, they proclaimed “That we must of necessity strive for the abolishment of these systems and for the institution of Socialistic relationships in which Black people have total and absolute control over their own destiny as a people (emphasis added). This is essentially a description of black anarchy. Third, “in order to abolish our systems of oppression, we must utilize the science of class struggle, develop this science as it relates to our unique national condition” (emphasis added). In other words, perfect the science of profiting at being a victim of society. The Black Liberation Army was reported to be involved in numerous police shootings and murders throughout the 1970’s.

Black Lives Matter also emphasizes the same social and economic struggles as the Black Liberation movement once did, calling its members to “live Black and buy Black” to create wealth only in the black community. Black Lives Matter has also extended the Black Liberation Army’s interest in being “anti-sexism” by affirming “the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement” (emphasis added).

One of their core principles of being Queer Affirming states, “We are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise” (emphasis added). Sadly, the movement seems to be against the family model that is the foundation of society.

BLM also seems to be wholeheartedly committed to what they call “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another…” A kind of America where innumerable government community programs are substituted for moral values taught by a mom and dad, perhaps?

The guiding principles of this movement take the African-American community in a downward spiral of black anarchy that erases the family and casts no vision for a sustainable future. These principles are neither good nor healthy and are vastly different from the successful principles of Dr. King.

The most successful model for social change we can draw from is itself the civil rights movement of the sixties, led by the late Dr. King. He was able to articulate what the real problems were and to cast a unifying vision for all Americans to move forward. Dr. King also called the collection of his brave volunteers an army, but “an army whose allegiance was to God … it was an army that would sing but not slay … no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience.”

Dr. King took universal Christian principles that inherently speak to every human conscience and used them to make a crisis of conscience to promote action. He made sure the world televised his non-violent marches for the enforcement of equal rights, while dogs and water hoses were unleashed on their bodies, knocking them to ground only to be beaten down more with clubs and fists. The world saw the participants of these non-violent marches singing praises to God and stopping together to sink to their knees on the pavement to pray.

Dr. King led the fight for civil rights by calling for action through policy, not burning down buildings. After the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Alabama’s bus segregation laws, King co-founded the Christian Leadership Conference throughout the South which became the leading organizer for action in the civil rights movement. after many arrests, non-violent marches, sit-in’s and appeals, his leadership paved the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

What an astonishing difference King’s efforts have made. His movement has largely accomplished its goals, and we are alive to see it in beautiful ways today, from the first black president, to multi-ethnic families and churches, to endearing friendships that would have never taken place had segregation existed today. Why are we enjoying the success of the MLK movement today and not the BLA? I believe the answer is that any social movement not based on Christian principles cannot be sustained and will fail. Christianity operates in truth and is a benefit to all people, no matter one’s color, gender, or culture.

Dr. King cast this vision, stating:

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

We must be the voice of truth and fill the void. We cannot afford to wait, hoping things will just get better. Our destination should be what it was always meant to be, “to sit at the table of brotherhood.”

For this was God’s eternal and mysterious plan since the beginning of mankind according to Ephesians 3, where the apostle Paul explains God’s advanced plan to make one unified body out of diversity, which displays His wisdom. Any plan that inherently goes against this will not succeed and cannot be blessed by God. We should seek out policies of righteousness and justice just as Dr. King so diligently fought for. Today we honor him and his contributions to all Americans, and pray that leaders like him will take up the mantle to be the alternative and distinct Christian voice for truth and justice. 

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The Day After November 8th

by Unix Diza

November 9, 2016

With over 590 days passed since Ted Cruz became the first person to announce his candidacy for president, this election cycle is finally over. Many news articles, headlines, and Facebook posts in the months leading up to the election revealed the deep disunity within our nation and the discouragement that was felt by many voters. Regardless of whatever our first reaction may be to the outcome of November 8th, we must go into the day after the election with a proper foundation.

Where do we find our hope? Our hope is ultimately found in Jesus Christ, and to place our faith in anything else is to stand on an unstable foundation. Scripture reminds us over and over again of the sovereignty of God. Daniel 2:21 says, “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” From this verse, we can know that whoever is president was established by God. It is in this high view of God that we should root ourselves. Furthermore, the peace and security that the Gospel provides us should be treasured in our hearts and at the forefront of our minds on a daily basis. Admittedly, this is all easier said than done and is something that we must remind ourselves of constantly. Our default position should be to fix our eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith,” as Hebrews 12:2 says.

Of course, this biblical bedrock does not exempt us from our civic duty as citizens. God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are two parallel truths. Our theology will not excuse us from our responsibility of being involved in the affairs of our nation, but should actually do the opposite. Our faith should inform our outlook on every sphere of life. We must always be cognizant of God’s sovereignty while at the same time being obedient by engaging the culture for Christ. We are to be in the world but not of it.

So how do we move forward after November 8th? The bottom line is that Christians must seek to influence and shape culture from the various vocations to which God has called us.

The doctrine of vocation simply recognizes that, “God has chosen to work through human beings, who, in their different capacities and according to their different talents, serve each other,” as Gene Edward Veith Jr. writes in his book God at Work. In a later chapter, Veith writes that, “Our vocation is not something we choose for ourselves. It is something to which we are called.” Consequently, every Christian is critical to the future of our nation because we each have unique talents and abilities that were given to us by God.

Moreover, in a democratic republic that is of the people, by the people, and for the people, we must remember that government is a reflection of the culture. As Henry Adams wrote in his book Democracy, “No representative government can long be much better or much worse than the society it represents.” In light of that, as believers, we must seek to wholeheartedly engage culture in and from whatever vocation God has called us to. Martin Luther King Jr. said it well: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” We must all strive to daily live out our vocations in life with excellence unto the glory of God.

The manner in which Christians should engage culture is a topic that the church has debated for centuries. Thankfully, there have been examples of Christian engagement in culture that we can look to for guidance on how to transform the situation we find ourselves in today.

In A letter to Diognetus, the writer describes Christians living during the 2nd century: “They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.” This particular description of Christians who lived over 1,800 years ago displays the sweet paradox of the Christian life. Can what was said of Christians in the 2nd century be said of us today?

A little further along the timeline of history we come across the life of an individual who epitomizes Christian engagement in the culture—William Wilberforce. Perhaps best known for being the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade in England, Wilberforce also made some insightful statements regarding Christians living out their faith in the public sphere:

  • Surely the principles of Christianity lead to action as well as meditation.”
  • I would suggest that faith is everyone’s business. The advance or decline of faith is so intimately connected to the welfare of a society that it should be of particular interest to a politician.”
  • My walk is a public one. My business is in the world, and I must mix in the assemblies of men or quit the post which Providence seems to have assigned me.”

In conclusion, we must remember that on this day there are winners and there are losers. In the races that we won, we need to acknowledge victory with compassion. In the races that we lost, we need to accept defeat graciously. We must enter November 9th with the firm resolve that God is sovereign and He has given each of us a role to play in continuing the fight for faith, family, and freedom.

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Your Vote Counts!

by Unix Diza

October 26, 2016

Should I vote during this election?” “Does my vote even count?” Those are some of the questions that you might be asking yourself as November 8th gets closer and closer. I would say “yes” to both questions. You should vote during this election. Your vote does count. Of course, the next logical question is, who do I vote for? To answer this question, many arguments could be made and the potential for disagreement is high. However, that does not detract from the point that voting this election is something that all Christians in the United States should take seriously. To lay a foundation for why you should vote during this election, we will take a look at statesmen, statistics, the Supreme Court, and Scripture.

With the recent success of the Broadway musical Hamilton, there has been a renewed interest in the life of Alexander Hamilton, the United States’ first Secretary of the Treasury and signer of the U.S. Constitution. As one of our Founding Fathers, we should strongly consider what he has to say about voting. He said, “A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.” Samuel Adams, Founding Father and cousin of John Adams, said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Hamilton and Adams, as did many of the Founding Fathers, recognized the importance of voting and being involved in the political sphere.

So how have we, as evangelical Christians, done in our stewardship of the privilege of voting? The answer frankly is we have done a poor job. Statistics from the 2012 general election tell us that there were around 90 million Christians of voting age in the United States. Of those 90 million Christians, only 77 million Christians were registered to vote. Of those 77 million, only 51 million voted in the election. That means there were about 39 million eligible Christian voters who were either not registered or just decided not to vote. Breaking down the 39 million, we know that approximately 13 million Christians were not registered and 26 million decided not to go to the polls. The importance of these statistics is made particularly clear, for example, when we know that Mitt Romney lost the popular vote to Barack Obama by a margin of just 3,476,755 votes.

Yet all of our focus should not just be centered on the presidential race. We should remember the critical state and local elections that will be taking place this November. It is perhaps at the state and local level that one person’s vote counts all the more. For example, in the 2013 New Jersey General Assembly District 2 election, the race was decided by a margin of just 40 votes. The 2014 Arizona Second Congressional District election was decided by only 179 votes. In what has been such a polarizing presidential election, people often forget that there are other important races. The executive branch is just one-third of our government. Elections this November, for example, will decide who will be in control of the Senate going forward. The involvement of people of faith who will choose to vote their values in these races, especially the battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, will probably be a big factor regardless of whether we have a red or blue White House in January.

Another factor to consider this upcoming election is the vacancy in the Supreme Court left open by the recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. It is worth noting that our next president will potentially appoint not just one, but possibly as many as four justices to the Supreme Court. Since 1970, the average Supreme Court Justice has served for about 25 years. In light of this, the new president’s appointments will have lasting effects that will endure well beyond their four-year term. It is also worth noting that not only does our next president have power to appoint new Supreme Court justices, but he or she will have the power to potentially appoint judges to any of our nation’s 94 federal district courts and 13 courts of appeals.

The importance of the Supreme Court is further highlighted by its recent decisions that were split 5-4. There are times when a 5-4 vote has gone down in our favor, such as the decision to uphold religious liberty in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Yet we are also particularly cognizant of the times when an unfavorable split decision was rendered, such as the recent Obergefell v. Hodges case that gave us court-created same-sex marriage. With the court currently at eight seats, whoever will be the ninth Justice will play a crucial role in future cases that go before our nation’s highest court.

Your vote counts. It is as simple as that. We cannot afford to stay home this upcoming election. In Mark 12:17, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The general principle we can take away from this verse is that Christians are to be in the world but not of it. We know that God is sovereign and in control of everything. He is our ultimate authority and deserves our utmost allegiance. Since living under a democratic government is a blessing from God, we have been given an incredible stewardship that is not given to everyone. That means that if we have the opportunity to vote, we should vote. Vote your values. Exercise your right and privilege in this country to vote and do not forget to vote all the way down the ballot. There is much at stake this election, so this November 8th be sure to get out and vote. If you have not registered yet, visit FRCAction.org to get helpful tools on registering to vote, important deadlines, voter guides, and more. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for voting for faith, family, and freedom.

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Stand with David - Sign the Petition Today!
by FRC Action (July 26, 2017)

David Daleiden led the project that brought to light the footage of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the selling of baby body parts in 2015...

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