Category archives: Religious Liberty

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.”

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.

 

Do You Have The Freedom To Practice What You Believe?

by Philip Rhein

July 6, 2017

This question is especially relevant today because of two recent events:         

First, recent comments made by Senator Bernie Sanders in a Senate Committee Hearing made believers consider whether they still have the right to practice what they believe (watch the video here).

 

Secondly, the Supreme Court has agreed to review Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether craftsman and artists still have the right to decline the promotion of a message they disagree with if it violates deeply-held religious beliefs, or if they can be forced to participate in a ceremony that violates his or her faith.

 

To better understand this question, we should refer to the First Amendment, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (emphasis added); or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment makes it clear that personal faith and the practice of faith are not to be separated by the government.

 

On June 26, 2017 in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch referred back to the First Amendment, when he stated, “that clause guarantees the free exercise of religion, not just the right to inward belief (or status).” This statement aptly outlines why artists, craftsman, etc. are not only free to believe in their faith but are also free to practice what they believe within their business. This case was a victory for all Americans who try to put their faith and beliefs into action.

 

In the name of “inclusiveness,” the Left has attempted to coerce individuals of faith to violate their consciences. But polling shows that a majority of Americans support the freedom to believe and live out those beliefs in the public square. The American Founders understood that threats against religious freedom would arise. For this reason, Madison wrote in Federalist 51: “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.” Madison understood that harmony can only exist in a republic if the beliefs of individuals are protected—whether they’re in the majority or minority. In our country, people of faith have the freedom to believe and to act in accordance with that belief. The Left should take note that the right which protects a Jewish butcher from being compelled to serve pork is the same right that permits Christians to decline to bake a cake for a court-created same-sex marriage. This is not just a Christian issue, this is a question that affects anyone who has a conscience and wants to put their beliefs into practice.

As stated on FreetoBelieve.com, “When Americans believe something, they back it up with their actions (emphasis added). Our core beliefs define who we are, and how we live. The freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs is the foundation for a civil society where people of differing beliefs can live and work together with mutual respect.”

Like other challenges to faith and freedom that America has faced, we are hopeful that this current trend of religious liberty violations be put behind us. However, if freedom is not properly defended in situations such as Senator Sanders’ challenge of Mr. Vought or in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the potential to cause devastating consequences for faith-filled Americans is daunting.

The recent Supreme Court ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer should encourage all lovers of freedom. However, this is just one victory in many cases that the Supreme Court will review. All believers are called to pray for our country and that the Supreme Court will continue to defend the right of all people to put their faith into action.

To read about more stories that illustrate this recurring issue, please visit FreetoBelieve.com and view the latest edition of our “Hostility to Religion” report.

 

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)

The Religious Litmus Test

by FRC Action

June 26, 2017

 

Family Research Council Action launched a video ad calling on Americans to tell their Senators “to denounce Bernie Sanders’ religious test” upon the nomination of Christian nominee Russell Vought for the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Vought’s nomination drew national attention after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) deemed Vought unfit for public service due to his Christian belief that salvation is found through Jesus Christ alone.

In the confirmation process, Sen. Sanders fires off probing questions that had nothing to do with the job Vought was being considered for, experience, or qualifications, but had everything to do with the nominee’s faith. Sanders referenced a piece Vought wrote in The Resurgent defending his alma mater, Wheaton College, for its decision to stand by Christian doctrine when the school decided to fire a professor for equating Islam with Christianity.

Sanders pulls out a quote from Vought’s piece in the Resurgent stating, “‘Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.’ Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?” says Sanders.

Vought: “Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith …

Sanders: “… Forgive me; we just don’t have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?”

….

Sanders: “… Do you think that’s respectful of other religions?… I would simply say, Mr. Chairman that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”

Nominee, Russell Vought, was criticized for what seemed to be a religious test by Sen. Bernie Sanders when Article VI of our nation’s Constitution clearly states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Christians have been sued and bullied out of their livelihood for “bringing their faith into the workplace” even as business owners in the private sector! Now one is required to have a certain set of religious beliefs to be qualified for a specific job?

In response to Senator Sanders’ religious bigotry, Family Research Council (FRC) started a petition calling on Senator Sanders to apologize for his unconstitutional religious test and urged the U.S. Senate to reject the religious test. Over 55,000 Americans have already signed FRC’s petition.

In case you haven’t had a chance yet, you can still sign the petition today here.

Please call your Senator TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to confirm Vought! They need send a clear message and vote to confirm Vought based on principles — the principles of religious freedom, freedom of thought, and constitutionalism.

Parts taken from original article published here on The Christian Post.

 

Sign the Petition to Remind Senator Sanders that Faith Is What Our Country Is About!

by Philip Rhein

June 12, 2017

The recent comments made by Senator Bernie Sanders, in regards to the statement of faith by Russel Vought, are full of contradictions. In his comments to the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Sanders openly stated that he believed that Mr. Vought’s faith makes him at odds with American values. However, silencing religious liberty in the public square, in an effort to support tolerance, not only contradicts itself but dramatically harms our country and the dialogue that should happen between politics and religion.

Regardless of his understanding of evangelical doctrine, Mr. Vought made it clear in his statements that he sees each person as a unique gift from God with inherent dignity. Further, this belief will in no way inhibit his abilities to act as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Senator Sanders’ line of questioning did not focus on Mr. Vought’s abilities as a Deputy Director, rather, they focused on his understanding of salvation and contradicted his right to live out his faith.

Similarly, in a misguided attempt to encourage diversity, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote an article defending Senator Sanders’ remarks. The views within the ACLU article also contradicted themselves, by asserting that individuals like Russel Vought, who express their faith in the public square, infringe on the faith and diversity of others. However, the right to religious liberty is not meant to become a vacuum that sucks all religion out of the public square. Rather, the right to religious liberty should encourage individuals to live out their faith in a way that promotes dialogue through mutual respect.

Senator Sanders’ response to the faith of Russel Vought is a blatant example of bigotry against Christians. Please join with Christian leaders and Family Research Council by signing this petition today in support of religious liberty and the right to live out our faith in the public square!

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

by FRC Action

May 11, 2017

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

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

So what does this legislation do?

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

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

Click here to view the webinar.

A Comparison of the Democrat and Republican Platforms

by Andrew Guernsey

July 25, 2016

Last week, the Republican Party ratified its 2016 platform that includes key socially conservative planks on life, marriage, and religious liberty, which FRC Action, in tandem with our partner delegates, helped to improve from the 2012 platform. This week, the Democrats approved their platform, which swings them even farther to the extreme left on their radical social agenda.

While platforms are non-binding documents, research shows they matter—significantly. One study found that in the past 30 years, Republicans in Congress voted for positions supported by their party platform 89 percent of the time, while Democrats did so at a rate of 74 percent. If Republicans and Democrats in Congress make good on their party platforms’ promises, people of faith heading to the polls in November can be confident that Republicans will defend life, marriage, and religious liberty, while Democrats will continue to put those same values under direct assault.

The difference between the two parties’ platforms could not be clearer on values issues. Here are some concrete instances:

 

MARRIAGE

On the Redefinition of Marriage

Democrats support the Court’s judicial activism in Obergefell “that recognized LGBT people … have the right to marry the person they love.”

Republicans, on the other hand, “condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor … [and] Obergefell v. Hodges, which … robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. To echo Scalia, we dissent.” Republicans “urge its [Obergefell’s] reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

On Supporting Marriage and Family

The Democrats look to government and “social support services,” not marriage and family as the foundation of American society. Without mentioning the family or natural marriage, Democrats “are committed to creating a society where children … can thrive physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually … [through] civil structures that are essential to creating this for every child.”

The Republicans, on the other hand, affirm that “the American family … is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman.” The platform affirms the numerous benefits of natural marriage to human flourishing, and supported by overwhelming evidence from social science, concludes that “every child deserves a married mom and dad.” Republicans believe that “strong families, depending upon God and one another, advance the cause of liberty by lessening the need for government in their daily lives,” and conversely, “the loss of faith and family life leads to greater dependence upon government.” The Platform also discourages cohabitation and calls for “marriage penalties to be removed from the tax code and public assistance programs.”

 

ABORTION

On Pro-Life Laws

The Democrats say they “will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion … We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.”

The 2016 Republican Platform is arguably the most pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party. It states in unequivocal terms that “the Democratic Party is extreme on abortion … Because of their opposition to simple abortion clinic safety procedures, support for taxpayer-funded abortion, and rejection of pregnancy resource centers that provide abortion alternatives, the old Clinton mantra of ‘safe, legal, and rare’ has been reduced to just ‘legal.’ We are proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women.”

The Platform applauds the U.S House for passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, declaring, “We strongly oppose infanticide.” It also supports a human life amendment to the Constitution, abortion clinic regulations, federal and state bans on abortions at 20 weeks, when pre-born babies can feel pain, bans on abortions based on sex or disability, and bans on “the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.” It calls for a ban on human cloning and the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research, and also applauds Congress for banning research involving three parent embryos.

On the Hyde Amendment

For the first time in history, the Democrats and their nominee, Hillary Clinton, call for “repealing the Hyde Amendment” to allow the government to fund abortion on demand.

On the Hyde Amendment, the Republicans oppose the Democrats’ extremism directly: “As Democrats abandon this four decade-old bipartisan consensus, we call for codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare.” Republicans also “will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.”

On Planned Parenthood and the Selling of Baby Body Parts

The Democrats support taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood by name: “We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people.”

The Republicans, for the first time, denounce Planned Parenthood by name for committing abortions, selling baby parts, and deceiving women with faulty fetal harvesting consent forms: “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.” It calls on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts.

 

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

The Democrats promise to “appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion … and see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress.”

The Republicans “support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.” Such appointments would “enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions—including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases—that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking authority, undermined constitutional protections, expanded the power of the judiciary at the expense of the people and their elected representatives, and stripped the people of their power to govern themselves.”


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

On Recognizing God in Government

Short of mentioning “God-given potential,” which elicited boos and controversy at the 2012 Democratic Convention, the Democratic Platform includes no direct reference to God. The Democrat platforms speak frequently of rights, but only as they come from government, never as coming first from God. They give lip service to religion—that “our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires.” But there is one major exception—the Democrats only support a “progressive vision of religious freedom” that “rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate” on LGBT issues—such as the millions of Christians who support natural marriage.

The Republican Platform affirms that God is central to American government, society and our way of life, saying: “every time we sing, ‘God Bless America,’ we are asking for help. We ask for divine help that our country can fulfill its promise.” The Platform affirms what the Declaration of Independence sets forth: “That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, the Republican platform affirms that God, not the government, is the final authority, even above human laws, and sets the highest law we must follow. In light of this fact, Republicans “support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

On Religious Freedom on Abortion

The Democrats’ radical push for abortion makes no exception even for religious organizations or conscience protections for doctors or nurses who object to abortion. The Platform pledges to “defend the ACA … including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.” This alludes to the Obama administration’s contraception/abortifacient mandates against Christian businesses like Hobby Lobby and religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, and HHS’ redefinition of “sex discrimination” in Obamacare to include abortion and possibly sex change operations.

The Republicans, on the other hand, insist on protecting “the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups.” This includes “the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty” and “the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”

On Religious Freedom on Marriage

The Democrats call to “end discrimination on the basis of … gender, sexual orientation, gender identity,” etc. and they promise to “fight for comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, to guarantee equal rights in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, and federal funding.” Democrats claim that without these special LGBT protections, “a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home.” Continuing their undermining of religious freedom, Democrats insist that they only “support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”

The Republicans calls for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, “which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” and it sides with the rights of florists, photographers, bakers, and especially adoption agencies who do not wish to violate their consciences or religious beliefs by supporting same-sex marriage. Republicans oppose the Democrats’ “effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square” and “strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.” Republicans support “the right of the people to conduct their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and condemn public officials who have proposed boycotts against businesses that support traditional marriage.”

 

EDUCATION

On Transgender Bathrooms in Schools

Following the Obama administration’s redefinition of sex discrimination in Title IX, the Democrats “will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people.” They pledge to “improve school climates” to advance gay and transgender rights, claiming in defense that “LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school.” They specify creating “federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans … in areas such as … education.”

Republicans call out the Obama administration’s Title IX transgender bathroom edict, which “impose[s] a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories,” as “at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues.” The GOP Platform denounces the liberal social agenda, which is “determined to reshape our schools—and our entire society—to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions.”

On Teaching the Bible in Public Schools

The Democrats insist on promoting “high-quality STEM classes,” “computer science education,” and to “engage students to be critical thinkers and civic participants.” Yet Democrats also insist on banning prayer from the public sphere even in our public schools.

Recognizing that “a good understanding of the Bible [is] indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry,” the Republicans encourage, on a voluntary basis, for “state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools.” The Platform also “affirm[s] the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities.”

On Common Core and School Choice

In their platform, the Democrats “believe that a strong public education system is an anchor of our democracy” for “all children.” “Democrats are also committed to … high-quality public school options and expanding these options for low-income youth.” They offer no support for families, even poor ones, who want private or faith-based schooling for their children.

The GOP Platform promises Republicans will “fight for school choice” and “local control of our schools.” It recognizes that “parents” not the government, “are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children.” Therefore Republicans support “home-schooling … private or parochial schools … Education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.” Republicans also favor “implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it.”

On Sexual Education

The Democrats promote what they wrongly call comprehensive or “evidence-based sex education,” which, in fact, encourages young children and teens to use contraception and engage in risky sexual behavior. Even though the federal government funds condom-based approaches to sex education 16 to 1 compared to Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education, since 1991 the percent of high school students who have never had sex has increased 28%. The reason is largely due to SRA and the fact that parents and teenagers largely support waiting until marriage to have sex.

Recognizing the success of SRA, the Republicans call for “sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach—the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease—empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. ”

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

On the Obama Administration’s International Abortion and Homosexual Rights Agenda

The Democrats “will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe” including repealing “the ‘global gag rule’ [ie. the Mexico City Policy] and the Helms Amendment that bars U.S. assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world.” They also “will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world … including combating efforts by any nation to infringe on LGBT rights or ignore abuse.”

The GOP Platform opposes the federal government funding abortion overseas, and it calls for restoring the Mexico City Policy, to prevent federal money from going to NGOs like Planned Parenthood or the U.N. population fund, which “provide or promote abortion,” or are complicit in “China’s barbaric program of forced abortion.” It condemns the Obama administration for “impos[ing] on foreign recipients, especially the peoples of Africa, its own radical social agenda while excluding faith-based groups.”

On Genocide of Christians in the Middle-East

The Democrats say, “We are horrified by ISIS’ genocide of Christians and Yezidis and crimes against humanity against Muslims and others in the Middle East. We will do everything we can to protect religious minorities and the fundamental right of freedom to worship and believe.”

The Republicans complain that Obama’s “State Department has, belatedly, labeled genocide” the killing of Christians in the Middle East. It continues: “At a time when China has renewed its destruction of churches, Christian home-schooling parents are jailed in parts of Europe, and even Canada threatens pastors for their preaching, a Republican administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in its diplomacy, will quickly designate the systematic killing of religious and ethnic minorities a genocide, and will work with the leaders of other nations to condemn and combat genocidal acts.”

On Terrorism

In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, the Democrats singled out the LGBT community in response to violence for special protections: “Democrats believe that LGBT rights are human rights and that American foreign policy should advance the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect regardless of who they are or who they love.” And they insist “we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence,” and that “we will protect transgender individuals from violence.”

The Republicans also oppose any violence on all people, but without dividing victims into identity groups, instead naming the enemy, “radical Islam”: “Radical Islamic terrorism poses an existential threat to personal freedom and peace around the world. We oppose its brutal assault on all human beings, all of whom have inherent dignity. The Republican Party stands united with all victims of terrorism and will fight at home and abroad to destroy terrorist organizations and protect the lives and fundamental liberties of all people.”

 

MILITARY

On Social Engineering in the Military

The Democrats cheer the “repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and claim without evidence that “our military is strongest” when it includes “people of all … sexual orientations and gender identities,” including transgender people, ie. those with gender dysphoria.

The GOP Platform insists, on the contrary, “We reject the use of the military as a Platform for social experimentation and will not accept or continue attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness. We believe that our nation is most secure when the president and the administration prioritize readiness, recruitment, and retention rather than using the military to advance a social or political agenda. Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.”

On Women in the Military

Democrats claim “our military should be the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in the world” yet Democrats in Congress want to force women to have to register for the draft. Democrats also want to “make certain that the VA provides … women with full and equal treatment, including reproductive health services” which includes abortion.

The Republican Platform opposes “compulsory national service and Selective Service registration of women for a possible future draft.” It also “reiterate[s] our support for both the advancement of women in the military and their exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions.” Republicans in Congress have repeatedly sought to protect our military hospitals from being turned into abortion clinics.

On the Religious Freedom of Chaplains

Democrats emphasize “we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence” and claim that “our military is strongest when people of all … sexual orientations, and gender identities are honored.”

In light of “attempts by the Obama Administration to censure and silence … particularly Christians and Christian chaplains,” Republicans “support the rights of conscience of … and will protect the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities. A Republican commander-in chief will also encourage education regarding the religious liberties of military personnel under both the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the current National Defense Authorization Act.”

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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