Category archives: Government

Record High 245 Members of Congress Score 100 percent on FRC Action’s New Scorecard

by FRC Action

January 30, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Family Research Council (FRC) Action released its scorecard today for the First Session of the 115th Congress. A record number — 245 Members of Congress — scored a perfect 100 percent for votes cast last year. Next month, FRC Action will honor these 245 Members with its “True Blue” award for displaying unwavering commitment and consistent support of faith, family, and freedom.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

It is very encouraging that a record number of Members of Congress have achieved a perfect pro-life, pro-family voting record in the year following President Trump’s inauguration. It is evident that the positive and productive focus on values issues in this Congress is due both to the 2016 election and the Trump administration’s emphasis on the planks of the GOP’s conservative platform. As a result, we now see Congress following the will of the American people when it comes to pro-life and pro-family issues.

We thank these Members of Congress for consistently voting to defend and advance faith, family and freedom. These ‘True Blue Members’ have voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, deliver long-needed tax cuts that are already providing much needed relief to working families, stand for religious liberty, overturn Obama’s transgender military policy, end the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood, and protect pain capable babies.

Americans should be encouraged to know that they have so many Members of Congress and a president who have begun the work of rebuilding our nation, and protecting the very values that made America great,” concluded Perkins.

Votes in the U.S. House and Senate included:

• No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

• Disapproval of Obama’s HHS Title X Rule

• Obamacare Repeal and Replace

• Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

DOD Transgender Funding (Blocking Funding for Sex-Reassignment Surgeries)

D.C. Budget Autonomy

D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment

• Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

• Independent Payment Advisory Board Repeal

• Confirmation of Amy Barrett to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

• Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

Click here to download a copy of the Vote Scorecard.

New Va. Transgender Delegate Heads to Castro District, Smiles on Drag Party

by Cathy Ruse

December 20, 2017

On the campaign trail, Danica Roem said transgender politics had nothing to do with the Roem campaign. Political observers called that bunk.

Now, a month after winning a seat in the Va. House of Delegates, Roem was off to the notorious San Francisco Castro district.

In a glowing review of the “Drop Trou” event on December 10, the San Francisco Gate described hundreds of men stripped down to their underwear, some in drag and G-strings, gathered for a street party to raise money for an AIDS foundation.

The publication hailed newly-elected Va. Delegate Danica Roem as an “out-of-town celebrity” and reported that Roem “smiled” on the scene and said: “To be able to walk on a street and know you’re safe — there is a certain freedom of expression that comes with that.”

Roem was in town for a speaking engagement and “a fundraiser near the underwear-clad crowd” according to the story.

The Manassas School Board has invited Roem to visit students in its schools.

Don’t bring photos of your recent trip, Delegate.

Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Passes House — Let their Voice be Heard

by FRC Action

October 4, 2017

By Bailey Johnson, FRC Action Intern

When we hear something over and over again, we tend to become numb to the actual meaning of what we are hearing. We become so used to hearing the concept that it no longer has the same effect on us as it did at its outset. This is true for amazing and terrible topics alike. One amazing thing I am sometimes hit with is the overwhelming realization that Jesus actually died for me. I have heard it millions of times, but when I sit back and really ponder this reality, it brings my soul to its knees. Conversely, it’s terrible that I have become used to hearing conversations concerning the topic of abortion. Terms like “termination of pregnancy,” “late term abortions,” and “fetus” have become so commonplace that they no longer phase me. I don’t want this to be the case.

I do not wish to be so accustomed to the reality of abortion that I no longer consider the humanity of the baby whose life is ending. We as a nation are in a position to act. H.R.36 was voted on in the House of Representatives yesterday. Thankfully it passed, which means it is going to the Senate. This bill would make abortions at 20 weeks post fertilization or later illegal, with a few exceptions. It has been found that an unborn child can feel excruciating pain at the point of 20 weeks in the pregnancy. The womb was designed by God to be one of the safest places on earth. Yet children in their mothers’ wombs at this age can still legally be aborted. Think about what that really means. We aren’t talking in hypotheticals. An estimated 58 million unborn children have been aborted. Thousands, if not millions, of these children have felt the pain of this procedure before dying horrible deaths. This bill is a step towards protecting these children.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to vote “yes” on this bill! As the body of Christ, we are called to stand for the least of these (Matthew 25:34-40). Today, we have a chance to step out and say that these abortions are wrong. When we think about what is being discussed, it opens our eyes to the plight of those who cannot speak up to defend themselves. We must be a voice for the voiceless. Let’s not allow ourselves to become used to the topic of abortion. Let it be something that always pulls at our hearts. Let it push us to act and advocate for the rights of all babies. Contact your Senators right now asking them to vote YES on H.R.36 — the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The Obama Effect: How The Democrats Lost Over 1,000 Seats In Eight Years

by Nick Hollingsworth

July 14, 2017

In 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency in blowout fashion over Republican candidate John McCain. President Obama won the election by roughly 9.5 million votes, and won the electoral college by 192 votes. In addition to controlling the White House, the Democratic Party held 859 more state legislative seats than Republicans and had overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Things could not have been going better for the Democrats.

In the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, there were a lot of controversial legislation and actions taken by the Obama administration, but by far the most controversial legislation passed was the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.” Polling showed that this was very unpopular among American voters. Their frustration came to fruition over the next election cycle. By the end of the 2010 mid-term elections, Democrats had lost 726 state legislative seats, six governorships, 63 seats in the House of Representatives, and six Senate seats.

The downward trend for the Democrats was put on hold for the time being in the 2012 election. Barack Obama won the presidency by 5 million votes and by 126 in the electoral college. While the Democrats gained back seats in both the Senate and the House, they did not regain their majority in the House. The Democrats also gained a few state legislative seats. So while Democrats had gains, the GOP still had the majority of state legislatures, governorships, and had a majority in the House.

This is where the argument is made that the people of America, while voting for Obama the man, still collectively rejected his policies. There were six states that Obama won that had a Republican controlled state senate, with another having a split senate. In addition, there were seven states that went for Obama but had a Republican controlled state house. Altogether, there were five states that went for Obama that still had both a state legislature controlled by Republicans and had a Republican governor. There were an additional three states that had a split legislature, two with a Republican governor, that went for Obama. Of those eight states, six (Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) would later go for Trump in the 2016 election.

Where the wheels really came off for the Democratic Party is in the 2014 mid-term elections. After that set of elections, Republicans controlled 33 of 49 state houses and 35 of 49 state senates. Nebraska is not included in those numbers due to having a unicameral state government, which is nonpartisan. Republicans had a total advantage in state legislatures of 956 seats, 31 of 50 governorships, a 59-seat advantage in the U.S. House, and a ten-seat advantage over Democrats in the Senate.

From when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, to when Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the Democratic Party lost a total of 15 state houses chambers, 14 state senate chambers, 960 state legislative seats, 10 governorships, 62 seats in Congress, and 11 seats in the Senate. With these numbers, plus the election of Donald Trump as president, it can only be concluded that while Obama the man was well liked, the policies of Obama were not.

The Real Nature of Politics

by FRC Action

July 12, 2017

In our first ever FRC Action-hosted policy lecture, we partnered with The Leadership Institute to bring you “The Real Nature of Politics.”

Many committed conservatives tend to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient to win. Unfortunately, political history proves otherwise. If you allow your opposition to organize and communicate better than you do, they will beat you no matter how right you are — and you don’t deserve to win. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win. In this lecture you will learn the real nature of politics, and study how to win.

The speaker in this presentation, Robert Arnakis, is the Senior Director of Domestic and International Programs for The Leadership Institute, the nation’s premier public policy training organization. Robert oversees divisions which provide political education and training to tens of thousands of activists, elected officials, and political staffers. Robert’s 15 years of grassroots organizing, campaigning, fundraising, and communications experience has established him as one the country’s top political trainers. His background includes serving as campaign staff on presidential, congressional, municipal, and initiative-focused campaigns. Robert’s best campaign memory was assisting U.S. Senator John Thune in defeating Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

 

Top 10 Best Statements from Trump’s Speech at the Celebrate Freedom Rally

by FRC Action

July 3, 2017

On July 1, President Trump delivered an address honoring military veterans at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Here are some of his most memorable quotes (see the below video to view quotes at the indicated times in parentheses):

  1. Bureaucrats think they can run over your faith and tell you how to live, what to say, and where to pray, but we know that parents, not bureaucrats know best how to raise their children and create a thriving society …” (10:43-11:05)
  1. …and we know that families and churches, not government officials, know best how to create a strong and loving community, and above all else we know this: in America, we don’t worship government we worship God…” (11:19-11:42)
  1. Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence…” (12:11-12:27)
  1. Inscribed on our currency are the words ‘In God We Trust,’ but not only has God bestowed on us the gift of freedom, he’s also given us the gift of heroes willing to give their lives to defend that freedom…” (13:03-13:25)
  1. Every veteran with us tonight from every branch of the military – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard – I want you to know that we will always keep our promises to those who have kept us free. Since my very first day in office, we’ve taken one action after another to make sure that our veterans get the care they so richly deserve…” (19:25-19:48)
  1. I also want to speak to all of the people in our faith community who are here with us tonight – veterans and non-veterans alike. You’re never gonna be forgotten. My administration will always support and defend your religious liberty…” (25:05-25:35)
  1. We don’t want to see God forced out of the public square, driven out of our schools or pushed out of our civic life. We want to see prayers before football games if they want to give prayers. We want all children to have the opportunity to know the blessings of God. We will not allow the government to censor sermons to restrict the free speech of our pastors and our preachers…” (25:43-26:27)
  1. I just signed an executive order – and this is something that makes me very happy and very proud – following through on my campaign pledge to stop the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights. As long as I am president, no one is going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what is in your heart…” (27:03-27:48)
  1. Though we have many stories we all share one home and one glorious destiny, a destiny that’s getting better and better every single day, and whether we are black or brown or white, and you’ve heard me say this before, we all bleed the same red blood, we all salute the same great American flag, and we are all made by the same Almighty God.” (29:55 -30:46)
  1. As long as our country remains true to its values, loyal to its heroes, and devoted to its creator, then our best days are yet to come, because we will make America great again.” (32:16- 32:32)

Georgia’s Pro-Life 6th District: Money Does Not Equal Votes

by Philip Rhein

June 22, 2017

In the most expensive congressional race in history, the election for Georgia’s 6th district demonstrated that spending a greater amount of money will not necessarily translate into a decisive win. While Planned Parenthood and its affiliates had intended this election to serve as an example of how worn out the country is of Republican legislators, it has had the opposite effect of re-asserting Georgian voters’ commitment to pro-life leadership.

Pro-life candidate, Karen Handel, defeated her pro-abortion challenger, Jon Ossoff, by 3.8 percent. According to Open Secrets, the two outside groups that spent the most to help Ossoff were the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Planned Parenthood Action Fund – the latter of which spent close to $800,000.

Although June 20th was the closest the Democratic Party has come to winning this district in 40 years, comparing how much each candidate spent per vote reveals a striking contrast.

This election is one example of how far this country has come in its support of the pro-life movement. Contrary to what Planned Parenthood would have Americans believe, recent polls have shown that at least 78 percent of Americans favor strong abortion restrictions. Massive campaign funds, aggressive door-to-door advertising, and hundreds of TV and radio commercials, funded by out-of-state donors, are not enough to convince pro-life voters to abandon their values at the election booth.

The election on June 20th infers that the 6th district of Georgia has voted pro-life, despite the incredible pressure placed on voters from the over $32 million of pro-abortion/pro-Ossoff advertising. This election should reassure and inspire pro-life advocates around the country. It demonstrates that regardless of how much is spent, staunch Georgian voters will not be bought or convinced to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

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.

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.

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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