Category archives: Religion & Culture

The Media Still Doesn’t Get It: Conservatives Tend to Vote Conservative

by Daniel Hart

November 6, 2020

Four years after one of the most shocking presidential upsets in American history, and three days after another election that is too close to call, a vast swath of the mainstream media still has not figured out (or perhaps simply chooses not to acknowledge) why almost half of American voters filled in the oval for Donald Trump.

While it is certainly true that the motivations of Trump voters remain diverse, the primary motivating factor is as plain as day: millions of Americans are conservative, and they in fact voted for a president that has enacted conservative policies. This isn’t rocket science.

Two recent articles in The Atlantic particularly highlight how myopic, and even dangerously prone to vilification (as will be discussed later) so many mainstream media writers remain. In an otherwise insightful analysis of the state of our country, George Packer refers to Trump rallies as “red-drenched festivals of mass hate.” Hmmm. It seems that Mr. Packer has himself fallen prey to becoming, in his own words, an “influential journalist” who “continue[s] to fail to understand how most of their compatriots think, even as these experts spend ever more of their time talking with one another on Twitter and in TV studios.”

Does Mr. Packer really think that those thousands of people who attend Trump rallies are full of “hate”? Or could it be that they simply appreciate Trump for his public policy accomplishments that have helped keep blue collar jobs in America and unemployment low by deregulating the economy, supported the family and religious liberty, respected the value of the unborn, etc.?

Then there is “A Large Portion of the Electorate Chose the Sociopath” by Tom Nichols. Over and over again, without citing any actual proof, Mr. Nichols and many others on the Left continue to carry on the narrative that a massive swath of Trump voters are driven primarily by racism. Mr. Nichols makes this stunningly nauseating assertion: “The politics of cultural resentment, the obsessions of white anxiety, are so intense that his voters are determined not only to preserve minority rule but to leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office.”

Is it possible that intelligent intellectuals like Mr. Nichols, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown, actually believe in their heart of hearts, that racism, not policy, is what is driving Trump voters? Again, without citing any actual evidence, he asserts that “far too many of Trump’s voters don’t care about policy.” Once more, Mr. Nichols has apparently not bothered to notice the policies that President Trump has put in place, policies that reflect the goals of the Republican Party platform on protecting the unborn, preserving religious liberty, advocating for school choice, promoting free enterprise and job growth through deregulation, appointing originalist judges, etc.

Millions of American voters also saw through the false façade that Biden is somehow a “political centrist,” as Mr. Nichols described him. How does a “centrist” run on “the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in the modern history of the party”? That’s a quote from a Democratic operative in The Atlanticthe very publication that Mr. Nichols is writing for. How does a centrist have a vice presidential nominee that is, according to the left-leaning Newsweekmore liberal than Bernie Sanders, and who openly advocates for public policy that enforces equality of outcome?

But beyond the patent dishonesty of this kind of writing, something much more dangerous is occurring here. The Atlantic is continuing to publish opinion pieces that grossly and disturbingly mischaracterize and demean the motivations behind Trump voters, which will only further demonize conservatives in the minds of liberals, further contributing to the breakdown in mutual respect and assumption of good faith that is critical for a functioning democracy.

Having said that, all of us, whether conservative or liberal, have a lot of work to do in order to assume that most of our fellow compatriots hold their political views in good faith—because they honestly think they are what is best for our country.

The mainstream media, though, which has so much power to shape prevailing patterns of thought, has a particularly important responsibility to do better in this area. If George Packer, Tom Nichols, and the vast majority of their mainstream media colleagues did some actual research into the true motivations of most Trump voters, they just might discover that they are actually pretty ordinary: decent, hardworking people who simply want to preserve America as a free republic.

The 2020 Election: A Letter to Young Conservatives

by Molly Carman

October 16, 2020

Dear young American conservatives,

I am a recent graduate from college who has only just begun my professional career, and like other young conservatives today, I have been restless as we approach the 2020 elections. Whether you will be a first-time voter in the election, are a recent college graduate, have started your first young professional job, have recently married, or are nearing 30, I invite you to consider your role and responsibility in the election this fall.

Many of you plan to do one of three things this election: vote for Trump because you actually believe he is the best option, vote for Biden because you don’t like Trump, or completely disengage and not vote because you are “conflicted” and feel like you are having to choose between the lesser of two evils. For some reason, passivity has become commendable and ignorance has been deemed bravery when it comes to politics this election season. However, we are fools if we truly believe that our inaction is more beneficial then our action.

When conflicted on whether or not to stand up against Hitler during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to take a stand because he was convicted that, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” We have been given a stewardship and a trust with our vote as citizens of the United States of America. This is why Elizabeth Stanton in the suffrage movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement fought for the right to vote.

The United States of America is a constitutional republic, which means that power belongs to the people and they choose who is placed in positions of authority and government. As noted by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist paper 22, “The fabric of the American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.” It is not for authority to be passed down, but to be passed up.

Romans 13 is clear that ultimately, God is the one who places individuals in positions of authority. Because God places them in positions of authority, Paul commands everyone to, “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (v.1). When we vote, we are giving our power into the hands of another and charging them to lead our nation under God. Citizens are to seek God’s wisdom and ask for discernment as we nominate, endorse, and vote for these roles.

Because we the people hold the power to elect various officials, we must steward our vote intentionally. We are not just voting for party, personality, or how presidential they look. When we vote, we should vote for policies and platforms that uphold justice, life, family, religious liberty, and representation of the people. Through my personal conversations and from observing social media behavior, it is clear that numerous young conservatives are choosing to become recalcitrant this fall. The attitude has become, “Lets bad mouth and crack jokes about the candidates and platforms.” In terms of actually participating in the political process, it has become popular to disengage—to make smart remarks but fail to engage in the civic duty of voting.

Do not get me wrong: elections can be frustrating, politics can be strenuous, and policies can be exasperating, but these emotions—though real—should not lead us to conclude that disengagement is the best response. When we make the choice to throw away our votes, we are choosing laziness over responsibility, passivity over action, naivety over wisdom, immaturity over courage, and selfishness over the republic.

I do not believe that it will be helpful to tell you stories of times when men and women decided last minute to vote and their candidate won by one point and this moment changed their whole perspective on voting. These stories have occurred, but this is not why we vote. We vote to preserve the values and virtues that our Founders fought and died for. The future of our nation is dependent on who you vote for, because for better or worse, they will be the sword bearers of power and the leaders of our nation.

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave because George Washington decided to leave his home at Mount Vernon and lead the fight in the Revolutionary War, because young men left their homes to fight on the beaches of Normandy, because Martin Luther King Jr. chose to reject inequality and fight for civil rights. You only have your vote today because of the blood, sweat, and tears shed to retain it. It is a slander on our nation, on your character, and to God when good men and women do nothing and squander our stewardship.

To vote or not to vote” is not the question. Voting is your duty! To consider more reasons why young conservatives, especially Christians, should be politically engaged, go to frc.org/engage.

Your fellow patriot,

Molly Carman

Biblical and Practical Considerations for the November Election

by Laura Lee Caum

August 14, 2020

As Election Day approaches, American Christians may be weighing their options for U.S. president and may have reservations about voting for either President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden. Despite these concerns, there are good reasons why American Christians might consider supporting President Trump in November. Let’s consider evidence from Old Testament history and President Trump’s first-term accomplishments.

The Old Testament is filled with accounts of God’s faithfulness. God advocated for His people, not only when they were the Kingdom of Israel but also when foreign governments ruled over them. At various times, He even used non-Jewish leaders to protect his people. One such example is the Persian King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah, a Jewish cupbearer to the king, learned that the city of Jerusalem was in ruins and asked the king for permission to rebuild it. King Artaxerxes not only granted Nehemiah’s request, but he also funded the operation. Another Persian leader God used for his glory was King Xerxes. His queen, a Jewish woman named Esther, risked her life to plead for the lives of her people. King Xerxes decided to spare the Jewish people from genocide, though he himself was not Jewish. These are just two examples of God using secular, imperfect leaders to advocate for His people.

When deciding what presidential candidate to vote for, Christians should consider the importance of political appointments. When a nation elects a president, it is not merely putting an individual in the Oval Office. That individual will then choose leaders to fill many government positions, such as the president’s cabinet—including the secretaries of State, Justice, and Health and Human Services (HHS)—as well as judicial appointments to federal courts—including the Supreme Court. These appointees are incredibly influential concerning government policy, both at home and abroad.

As Secretary of State during the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton advocated for pro-LGBT policies abroad. Both the UN Resolution on LGBT Human Rights and the Global Equality Fund were formed under her leadership. In contrast, President Trump appointed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, who formed the International Religious Freedom Alliance which seeks to advocate for religious liberty abroad, initiated The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom (an annual gathering of religious leaders to discuss best practices for advocating for religious freedom), and started the Commission on Unalienable Rights, which focuses on ensuring that the basic human rights spelled out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights are protected.

Sylvia Burwell served as Obama’s HHS Secretary. In that role, she took the Little Sisters of the Poor to court over their refusal to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, which required them to provide contraceptives against their consciences. In contrast, Alex Azar, President Trump’s HHS Secretary, has advocated for religious liberty and the rights of the unborn, both internationally and at home. Some of Secretary Azar’s actions include exempting the Little Sisters of the Poor from the contraceptive mandate. Also, under Azar’s leadership, the Office of Civil Rights was established. This section of HHS defends conscience rights by ensuring that no medical personnel are forced to perform abortions, gender transition services, and other procedures against their consciences.

As U.S. Attorney General during the Obama administration, Eric Holder advocated for pro-LGBT policies, such as giving “transgendered” persons special status under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore, Holder intimidated peaceful pro-life protestors under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. In contrast, William Barr, Trump’s AG appointment, is a staunch defender of life and religious liberty. He expresses these convictions in both word and deed. In 2019, Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame defending religious liberty.

The Obama administration even used the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service to threaten a meatpacking plant in Michigan for putting brochures out on company tables promoting a biblical view on marriage and sexuality. Thankfully, the Trump administration issued new guidance to protect the First Amendment rights of meatpackers.

Presidential elections affect all areas of government, particularly health care and foreign relations. The Trump administration has continually defended life and religious liberty. Despite these commendable policy accomplishments, an American Christian may struggle to support Donald Trump the man. However, consider that neither King Artaxerxes nor King Xerxes was perfect. Nor were they part of God’s chosen people—the Jewish nation. Yet, God used these two leaders to defend His people.

This November, as you exercise your right to vote, remember that God can use even imperfect leaders to advance and protect the rights of Christians at home and abroad. Consider what individuals each candidate would appoint to positions of authority and what that would mean for life, family, and religious liberty issues. If Joe Biden is elected, he will likely advocate for similar policies that the Obama administration did. Biden’s election would likely result in decreased protections for life and religious liberty. However, President Trump’s administration has consistently advocated for these values. After considering all these things, pray, vote, and stand.

For more on voting from a biblical worldview, be sure to check out Biblical Principles for Political Engagement: Worldview, Issues, and Voting. For a full listing of the Trump administration’s accomplishments, click here.

Laura Lee Caum is a Communications intern at Family Research Council.

Befriending Our Opponents: A Tale of Two Presidents

by Worth Loving

July 2, 2020

In the midst of the current political divisions gripping our nation, it’s difficult to find close friendships between people with opposing viewpoints. It seems we are divided on every issue, with each side digging their heels in more and more and little hope of solving America’s greatest problems.

In such times, many are asking if there is any hope of finding common ground. I have often found it difficult to form meaningful friendships with people whom I disagree with on fundamental issues like life, family, and religious freedom. But may I suggest that friendship is exactly what we need to bring us together? What if we could form genuine relationships with those on the other side to make our nation better together? Two of our most famous Founding Fathers had significant political differences that nearly ended their friendship. Yet they persevered, giving us the beautiful story of reconciliation that we have today.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson first met in Philadelphia at the Second Continental Congress of 1775. A year later, they worked together on the committee tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence, whose 244th anniversary we celebrate this weekend. In the 1780s, Adams and Jefferson worked together on diplomatic assignments in England and France, managing to find some time for leisure during their demanding duties as ambassadors. Over the years, they became close friends, corresponding by letter often when they were separated.

On politics, however, the two could not be more opposite and frequently debated their differences. In fact, their disagreements sometimes became personal and often tested their friendship. Adams, a devout member of the Federalist Party, favored a strong central government, a national bank, and close relations with Great Britain. On the other hand, Jefferson, an ardent Democrat-Republican, favored states’ rights, reduced government spending, greater relations with France, and westward expansion. Despite their passionate political differences, their close friendship continued for many years.

However, circumstances changed in 1801. Adams was still president but had just lost his bid for reelection in a bitter battle against Jefferson. In the final hours of his presidency before Jefferson took office, Adams made a number of last-minute judicial and bureaucratic appointments—appointees who were loyal Federalists and would oppose the incoming administration, making it extremely difficult for Jefferson to govern effectively. In fact, Jefferson later wrote that they “were selected from among my most ardent political enemies.” This political disagreement proved to be the severest test of their friendship, and the two ceased correspondence for the next decade.

After Jefferson retired from the presidency in 1809, Dr. Benjamin Rush took it upon himself to act as an arbiter and rekindle the friendship between Adams and Jefferson. However, it took two years until he was able to convince the two to resume their friendship. When one of Jefferson’s neighbors visited Adams in 1811, Adams is reported to have said: “I have always loved Jefferson, and still love him.” Upon hearing this report from his neighbor, Jefferson wrote Dr. Rush: “This is enough for me. I only needed this knowledge to revive towards him all the affections of the most cordial moments of our lives.” At Dr. Rush’s persuading, he convinced Adams to renew his correspondence with Jefferson. The two continued to write each other often until their deaths 15 years later.

Reconciliation often makes broken relationships stronger than they were before, and so it did with Adams and Jefferson. In the years following their renewed friendship, a rich correspondence commenced between the two, reminiscing about the past, discussing current events, and looking forward to what lay ahead.

On July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson died at Monticello in the rolling hills of Virginia. A few hours later, John Adams passed at his home in Massachusetts. His family reported that the last dying words he spoke were “Thomas Jefferson lives,” not knowing that his dear friend had died hours earlier.  

In today’s polarizing political climate, it’s easy to see the “other side” as enemies, with the strong desire to convince those on the fence that our ideas are better. That is not to diminish our differences in worldviews. Without a doubt, liberals and conservatives both have two very different ideas for the future of America. But, on this July 4th, perhaps we can learn a lesson from two of our greatest Founding Fathers. They didn’t ignore their differences as if they didn’t exist, but they didn’t allow those differences to interfere with forming a lifelong friendship. Likewise, we don’t have to set aside our differences either because that won’t make them disappear. Being friendly isn’t abandoning your principles. Perhaps this July 4th can be different if we don’t let those differences get in the way of crossing the street and talking to our neighbor. After all, we are celebrating our nation’s independence and the freedom we have to be different.

Furthermore, as Christians, there are several biblical commands that are easy to forget in the divisive times in which we live. First, we must remember that those with whom we disagree are not the enemy. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Second, Christians are commanded to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). Third, Scripture tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, whether we agree with them or not (Matthew 22:39). Last, wherever God’s spirit is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). By embracing reconciliation with others, we not only encourage freedom but we also invite God’s spirit to dwell among us. 

We often quote the first sentence of the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But we miss the weight of its last sentence: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” The signers of the Declaration no doubt had significant political differences and widely varying ideas for the future of the young nation. But they did not let those differences hinder them from forming friendships or from their ultimate goal—independence and freedom for all. These 56 men, firmly trusting in God, were willing to give up everything—their careers, possessions, and even their very lives—for the sake of freedom. Two of our future presidents—John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—both put aside their differences when they signed their names to that sacred document.

What we need in America right now is a good dose of civility and genuine friendships. Sure, there is a time and place to discuss the future of our great republic—a discussion we will continue to have and fiercely debate. But, this weekend, maybe we can take a break from debating on social media, protesting, or grasping for the next news hit and simply focus on loving our neighbor.

Let’s remember to celebrate our independence this weekend and the freedom it gives us to debate and be different. But let’s also not forget the opportunity we have to reach across the aisle and love our neighbor.

Pete Buttigieg’s “Different Way” Is Not Biblical Christianity

by David Closson

January 15, 2020

Yesterday, six candidates participated in the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Tom Steyer each made their pitch for why they should be their party’s nominee to take on President Donald Trump in the general election.

Buttigieg’s repeated emphasis of his religious background is unique for his party: Democrats have been reluctant to speak about their faith on the campaign trail. While last night’s debate focused on foreign policy and the recent tensions with Iran, Buttigieg made a point (as he has throughout the election) to highlight the role of religion in politics. Responding to a question about his electability, Buttigieg highlighted his Midwestern roots, military service, and Christian faith. He said, “If a guy like Donald Trump keeps trying to use religion to somehow recruit Christianity into the GOP, I will be standing there not afraid to talk about a different way to answer the call of faith and insist that God does not belong to a political party.”

The comment received little public attention following the debate, but Christians should pay close attention to what Buttigieg is suggesting. He is arguing that President Trump’s relationship with the faith community is transactional and utilitarian. In Buttigieg’s view, President Trump is using religion to advance his political agenda, and Christians who support him are allowing their faith to be co-opted. This is the same argument Mark Galli made last month in his widely shared Christianity Today editorial. In Galli’s words, if Christians don’t oppose President Trump, the “reputation of evangelical religion” and “the world’s understanding of the gospel” will be harmed. Buttigieg evidentially agrees with this assessment, which is why he is proposing a “different way to answer the call of faith.”

Buttigieg’s (and Galli’s) allegation deserves a response. How should Christian voters think about Buttigieg’s call for a “different way to answer the call of faith?” Is it true that Christian leaders have sacrificed their moral witness for a seat at the table of political power?

First, when it comes to evaluating the theological claims made by Buttigieg, it is important to remember that he is a member of the Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has taken public stands against the historic teachings of Christianity on a host of social issues. For example, the Episcopal Church ordained its first clergy member who openly identified as gay in 1977 and continues to actively support LGBT causes. Also, since 1967 the Episcopal Church has opposed national or state legislation that would restrict abortion and, in 2018, called for “women’s reproductive health and reproductive health procedures to be treated as all other medical procedures.”

Buttigieg’s liberal politics align nicely with the liberal politics of the Episcopal Church, so it is not surprising that he finds himself at home there. Thus, when Buttigieg argues that the “Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction,” it is important to realize that by “Christian faith,” Buttigieg means something very different than what Christians have taught and believed for two millennia—not only about the nature of marriage and life but also about the role of Scripture.

Buttigieg’s understanding of the Bible came up in an interview with Rolling Stone last November. When asked to respond to the charge that his progressive faith disregards the Bible’s teaching on social issues, Buttigieg said: “There’s so many things in Scripture that are inconsistent internally, and you’ve got to decide what sense to make of it. Jesus speaks so often in hyperbole and parable, in mysterious code, that in my experience, there’s simply no way that a literal understanding of the Scripture can fit into the Bible that I find in my hands.” 

A shocking admission, Buttigieg’s comments shed light on the candidate’s flawed understanding of Christianity. They also explain what he likely had in mind during last night’s debate when he referred to a “different way to answer the call of faith.” By calling the Bible “inconsistent” and insisting that Jesus spoke in “mysterious code,” Buttigieg is rejecting what theologians refer to as the perspicuity of Scripture, which says the Bible communicates the doctrines of the faith clearly.

It is worth noting that some passages in Scripture are more difficult to understand than others. In fact, when referring to the Apostle Paul’s epistles, the Apostle Peter said, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16b). But even as he acknowledges the fact that Paul’s writings could be hard to understand, Peter underscores the fact that Scripture is objective and that failure to attend to the meaning of the text is harmful. The Bible teaches elsewhere that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While there may be portions of Scripture that require extra study and attention, the Bible is clear on the doctrines of God, man, the way of salvation, and many issues with social and political implications.

However, by rejecting the clarity of Scripture, Buttigieg is conveniently able to remake and reinterpret the Christian faith to suit his preferences and beliefs, advancing proposals and policies in the garb of Christianity that either bear little resemblance or directly contradict “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

A clear example of this is Buttigieg’s argument that “there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath.” This despite the Bible’s repeated affirmation of the personhood of the unborn (see Psalm 139:13-16, Psalm 51:5-6, Luke 1:39-45, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Job 10:8, Genesis 25:22-23, and many others). By doubling down on this demonstrably false claim, Buttigieg is showing that political talking points, not Scripture, informs his view on life. 

Finally, in response to Galli’s charge that Christian leaders have sacrificed their moral witness and are no better than Buttigieg and his supporters on the religious left, it should be conceded that some on the right are willing to trade their credibility for influence. However, to allege, as Buttigieg has, that the “credibility of Christianity” is at stake because many Christians have supported President Trump and his party after measured consideration of their voting options is both unfair and inaccurate. Far from sacrificing their values and credibility, it is largely due to Christian encouragement that President Trump has taken significant action on issues of concern for social conservatives—issues such as life, religious liberty, Israel, and a return of faith in the public square.

As the 2020 election gets underway, it will be important for Christians to submit everything to the Lord, including their political engagement. As I argue in my recent publication, Christians ought to engage, but we must engage biblically. And as Christians, this requires prayerful consideration of candidates, party platforms, and most importantly, the Bible’s teaching on moral issues. On one level, Buttigieg is right when he insists, “God does not belong to a political party.” However, God does care deeply about many issues in our politics. And if Christians are going to be faithful in a time fraught with political turmoil and confusion, it will require more, not less, commitment to God’s Word.

Raising Up New Leaders: 3 Ways to Cultivate and Equip the Faith of Young People

by Anna Longbons

February 13, 2019

When Christians empower young Christian conservative leaders, they lay the foundations of the future. Every Christian parent wants their child to embrace the faith, and every conservative hopes the next generation will preserve and advance the cause of freedom. In America, however, nearly three out of five young people have walked away from the church, while atheism has doubled among teenagers. How can the church counteract this trend of young adult disengagement?

Instead of just trying to stop young people from leaving, the church can empower young people to start leading. If young people see the church as an outlet for their gifts and as a place of personal growth, their loyalty will deepen. Keeping young people in the pews is admirable, but equipping them for active service is transformational. Here are three ways to cultivate and equip the faith of young people:

1. Prayer

Firstly, church members can continually pray for the young people in their congregation, both those who attend and those who have recently gone to college or joined the workforce. By interceding for young people, church members can fight against the spiritual forces of darkness facing these young people, especially in today’s post-Christian culture. As believers pray, God offers guidance, paving the way for stronger relationships between church members and young Christians.

2. Mentoring

Relationships between older and younger Christians can bear significant fruit. In his book Cultivate: Forming the Emerging Generation Through Life-On-Life Mentoring, Dr. Jeff Myers explores the benefits of intentional, intergenerational relationships. He explains that mentors can rely on the six relational gestures of modeling, friendship, advising, coaching, teaching, and sponsoring. By inviting a young person to walk alongside them, a mentor models Christlike behavior and offers their mentee critical friendship and wisdom. As the mentee matures, the mentor can sponsor the mentee by furthering the mentee’s opportunities. These mentoring relationships help the mentee to realize that the church is relevant to their growth and invested in their success.

3. Apologetics Training

To promote lasting church loyalty, Christians can support young people through prayer and mentoring relationships. Apologetics training can also strengthen the next generation’s ties to the church. When young people learn the rational basis of their faith, and when they grasp the connections between the Bible and the issues facing our culture today, their confidence in Christianity grows and solidifies. Young people may perceive a disconnect between the church and the culture, but apologetics training bridges the gap. Christian organizations including Summit Ministries and Truth for a New Generation guide young people to understand and embrace the truth.

When a young Christian believes that their church accepts them and their faith matters, they are prepared to use the gifts God has given them in the service of the causes to which God has called them. Therefore, the church must be prepared to support the causes young Christians are passionate about. If a young Christian seeks to involve their church in the causes they care about—from alleviating poverty to abolishing sex trafficking to ending abortion—the church can offer their time, support, and encouragement. Promoting a young Christian’s endeavors not only furthers that specific cause, it furthers the young person’s leadership potential. Because they have grown in their faith and developed their leadership abilities through the church, young people will be far less likely to leave and far more likely to engage in positive leadership in future.

Prayer, mentoring relationships, and apologetics training all enable young people to grow in maturity and confidence. This confidence not only lays the foundations for continued church attendance, it produces proactive service and leadership that will benefit the church for decades to come.

Anna Longbons is an intern with FRC Action.

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.

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