Category archives: Religion & Culture

Free Speech in the Era of Social Media

by Worth Loving

April 20, 2018

In the last decade, the explosion of the internet has allowed us to reach a global audience almost instantly. Online social media platforms have become the primary way that people express their views, with 69 percent of American adults using some form of social media every day. And while these companies claim to be open platforms for all political discussion, some groups and individuals are finding there are limits to free speech.  

Since 2010, there have been an alarming number of incidents where conservative and Christian views have been censored on the internet. For example, in April 2015, GoFundMe deleted the fundraising campaigns for Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Arlene’s Flowers, two businesses that have declined to provide services for same-sex weddings and were raising money to help pay for legal fees. In January 2017, D. James Kennedy Ministries was denied access to AmazonSmile, a program developed by Amazon to allow customers to donate to the non-profit of their choice when making a purchase. Amazon based its decision on the SPLC’s designation of D. James Kennedy Ministries as a “hate group.” In July 2017, Facebook temporarily blocked over 20 pages of Catholic organizations and individuals that were followed by millions worldwide.

On Tuesday, “True Blue” recipient Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a leading voice in Congress on digital free speech, joined a panel of experts at FRC to discuss solutions to online censorship. Rep. Blackburn was herself a victim of online censorship last October when Twitter blocked an ad for her Senate campaign, which they deemed “inflammatory.” The ad called out Planned Parenthood for their illegal sale of baby body parts.

Today we are faced with the difficult question of whether government regulation of a private enterprise is necessary to protect free speech. We encourage you to take time to watch the panel discussion and learn more about one of the most critical free speech issues of our time.

Why FRC Action Supports the Graham-Cassidy Legislation Repealing Obamacare

by FRC Action

September 19, 2017

 

Family Research Council Action along with FRC and Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) support the FY17 reconciliation legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). The Graham-Cassidy legislation would reapply to federal health care law the principle contained in the Hyde Amendment that abortion is not health care and should not be subsidized. It redirects taxpayer funding away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood and provides better state-based health insurance solutions for families than Obamacare.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser released the following joint statement in support of the Graham-Cassidy legislation:

We applaud Senators Graham and Cassidy for their leadership and strongly endorse the bill they have crafted. This legislation offers Republicans the best chance to fulfill their promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, stop taxpayer funding of abortion, and redirect tax dollars away from the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, to comprehensive health care alternatives.

It is now well past time for Republicans in Congress to deliver on those promises. The Graham-Cassidy bill offers them the best chance to do that, with only 51 votes needed in the Senate to pass it before the September 30 deadline. The prior Congress passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and fund alternatives instead of Planned Parenthood that would have become law had it not been vetoed by President Obama, and now they have a commitment from President Trump to sign it. The pro-life majority controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. The GOP is without excuse. We urge them to keep their promise and repeal Obamacare and end the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. Failure to keep their promise to voters will bring into question whether this Congress can truly be called the ‘pro-life Congress.’ Rhetoric must be translated into verifiable action.

Should robust efforts to enact the Graham-Cassidy legislation through the FY2017 Reconciliation bill run out of time, then the fight to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood must move immediately to the FY2018 Tax Reconciliation bill. Planned Parenthood proudly self-reports taking the innocent lives of 328,348 unborn children last year and nearly one million over the past three years. That is 900 lives snuffed out before their first breath every single day by a single taxpayer-funded abortion chain. This tragedy is compounded every day that passes with inaction. The time for results is now. Lives depend on Congress’ leadership and action to enact the Graham-Cassidy bill.”

Thoughts About 9/11 from a Christian Millennial

by FRC Action

September 12, 2017

By Bailey Johnson (FRC Intern)

I was quite young on September 11, 2001. I know from my mother that we sat and watched the television in shock along with the rest of the world. Remembering those who lost their lives, and those who willingly gave them 16 years ago, is very sobering. I think of the men and women who were at work in the towers and at the Pentagon, the firefighters, policemen, boat and ferry drivers, those on Flight 93, and others who became heroes that day.

Each time I reflect on 9/11 I become saddened, but also proud. I am proud to be a citizen of a county where we band together in turmoil. We care for one another and put the needs of others before our own. That is the America that I know and love. It shone beautifully despite the destruction and animosity shown us that day. There was bravery and honor shown by hundreds. I hear all of these things talked about often in regard to 9/11, as they should be. But now, as I think about the attacks, another perspective comes to mind.

I am sure we have all asked how people could fly planes into buildings, taking their own lives and those of thousands of innocents. I sit in utter disbelief of the reality of such evil. While studying history, there were many times I sat in amazement of the depravity of humanity. I don’t believe I will ever find the answer to many of my questions. However, I came to the realization that I was born with the exact same sinful nature as all the people I read about. This realization brought me to my knees.

As humans, we are born into a state of depravity we ourselves cannot comprehend. Yet there is salvation; there is hope. God loves us despite our depravity. That fact is astounding to me. What is often surprising is the fact that there is still good in this world. These realizations make me want to praise the Lord for who He is and the vast nature of His love. When I look at 9/11 through this lens, I see more than I ever did before.

There is no excuse for the evil that was displayed that day. We are engaged in a fight with this evil, but it is important to remember that we also fight this fight on a spiritual level, not a just physical one. We fight for the reconciling of hearts to Christ. Because of the depravity of our human nature, salvation is the only real solution to the evil in the world. September 11 was a very sad and devastating time in our history, but it is also a call to share the gospel.

September 11, 2001 should never be forgotten, I pray it never will be. However, we must do more than simply remember. America today needs people willing to follow the example of the heroes who arose that day. We need to unite as a nation, but we also need to unite under God. We must come together and put the needs of others before our own, as many did on that fateful day, and let beauty shine amid the dark times and good times.

We do not have to wait for disaster to strike to seek the Lord. Let us stand for our beliefs at all times. “…[I]n your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15). May we always remember that we do not place our hope in the circumstances around us, but in our Lord Jesus.

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)

Houston ERO Finally Goes to the Polls

by Travis Weber

November 2, 2015

On Tuesday, November 3, Houston voters will finally be able to go to the polls and decide — under Proposition 1 — if they want the city’s controversial “Equal Rights Ordinance” (ERO) to be law.

Hopefully the voters will get a fair shake at the polls this time around, and this event will mark the end of the saga of the ERO’s tortured history, exacerbated and prolonged by its supporters’ attempts to cram it down the throats of Houstonians who simply don’t want it.

After Mayor Parker imposed her sweeping, religious liberty-trumping ordinance on Houston last year (and interfered with private church affairs by issuing an expansive subpoena for some pastors’ writings and communications), Houston area residents pushed back and rightly demanded a vote on the matter.

Yet the mayor wasn’t about to let that happen, and tried to declare petition signatures invalid to keep the question off the ballot.

Thankfully, the Texas Supreme Court earlier this year vindicated Houstonians’ right to vote when it issued an opinion ruling that Mayor Parker’s administration had violated the law and the City Council must either repeal the ordinance within 30 days or put it on the ballot this coming November. The Council chose to put it on the ballot.

Yet the City Council still resisted the Texas Supreme Court, attempting to confuse the voters by asking them to vote “yes” to repeal the ordinance. The Council’s obstinacy again forced the Texas Supreme Court to get involved and reject this contorted language. The Court held that the Houston City Charter clearly requires the ordinance be put to an up or down vote — a “yes” for the ordinance and “no” against it.

Proposition 1 is infected with a host of problems. First, it suppresses religious liberty significantly. Should the ordinance become law, it will drastically increase the reach of government into private religious conduct and result in a less free society. Indeed, the tentacles of government will intrude into a variety of private conduct — religious and non-religious — under Proposition 1.

Moreover, the ordinance is a solution in search of a problem; there is no systematic pattern or record of the problems it claims to fix.

Finally, there are simply all sorts of privacy and other concerns on the question of who will be able to use what bathroom under the ordinance. The last thing anyone in a major city should want is to alter the law on such a matter before calm, cool, and objective consideration.

For all these reasons, the ERO contained in Proposition 1 is a bad idea. Houstonians should vote “No” on Proposition 1.

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ICE: Unsung Heroes or Anti-Immigrant?
by Emily Weatherholt (July 11, 2018)

Throughout the years, ICE has created alternatives for detention programs, created apps to help prevent child exploitation on the internet and track children that have been abducted by sex trafficking ...

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