A group of Religious Right organizations have taken a sudden interest in curbing government spending on national parks and public lands…all in the interest of stopping the creation of a museum dedicated to American women’s history.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is currently holding up a defense authorization bill that was passed last week in the House, contending that a public lands package attached to it is too pricey and doesn’t belong in a defense bill. While Coburn and Sen. Ted Cruz have objected to provisions in the bill designating new national wilderness areas, which Cruz calls an “extreme land grab,” they have garnered allies in the Religious Right who object to quite a different provision: the establishment of a bipartisan commission to start planning a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.
In a letter to members of the House last week, representatives of Concerned Women for America (CWA), Heritage Action, Eagle Forum, March for Life, and the American Family Association signed on to a letter with a handful of “small government” groups that oppose the creation of more public lands, urging lawmakers to strip the lands package from the defense bill.
Although the letter makes a generic nod to preventing the government from gaining “more ownership over America’s lands,” it goes on to object specifically to the women’s history museum provision, using language copied and pasted out of a recent CWA press release.
CWA and its allies have been trying for months to stop Congress from authorizing a planning committee for the women’s history museum, claiming that the museum would end up being a “shrine to liberal ideology, abortion and liberal advocates” and complaining that the museum’s website doesn’t mention CWA founder Beverly LaHaye.
Back in May, the groups failed to stop the House from passing a bill authorizing the planning committee, in part thanks to the efforts of the bill’s main Republican sponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who called their arguments “convoluted.” Heritage Action’s threat to score the women’s history vote against members of Congress ultimately only scared 33 Republicans into voting against it.
Earlier this year, conservative groups led by Concerned Women for America tried unsuccessfully to stop the House from approving a plan to move forward on the building of the National Women’s History Museum, claiming that the museum would be a “shrine to liberal ideology, abortion, and liberal advocates." Since then, that bill has been held up in the Senate by Republicans Tom Coburn and Mike Lee.
Now the coalition is resuming the fight after hearing that the new museum might be included in a public lands section of an upcoming defense budget. In a press release yesterday, CWA President Penny Nance claimed that the museum would “promote a skewed view of women on key issues like abortion, the free market, and feminism.” Nance also declared that the museum “would in fact be offensive to military members” by including exhibits mentioning people like feminist Bella Abzug, who advocated cuts in military spending.
In an op-ed for Brietbart News, Nance writes that she is against the “identity politics” of the museum in the first place, opposes it especially because she suspects (with no apparent evidence) that it would glorify “whiny” feminists instead of people like a female Peshmerga fighter who died fighting ISIS last month.
On October 11, Rengin Yusuf died.
She was a mom, a warrior and a young Peshmergan fighter who died in battle against ISIS. According to Sandor Jaszberenyi’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, she was part of a brave group of women who are particularly successful in combat, due in part to ISIS’s belief that being killed by a woman fighter excludes one from the complimentary 72 virgins in Paradise.
Rengin should be a feminist icon, but she won’t be. American feminists won’t like her brand of feminism.
Besides taking a firm stand against Jihadists, she also didn’t buy into gender politics, asking before her death — along with her fellow fighters — to not be identified as “women Peshmergas” because as Jaszberenyi puts it, “a Peshmerga is a Peshmerga, or in Kurdish, ‘someone who confronts death.’”
Contrast her idea of true feminist empowerment with the whiny “#banbossy” campaign and other phony feminist “battles” of the American left.
Women warriors do not serve in this nation to be viewed as a minority interest group. We are fifty-one percent of the population and won’t settle for a pat on the head. We are Americans and deserve to be fairly represented in every museum.
But if we are wrong and the majority of American women want gender division, then at the very least the museum must fairly portray the philosophical diversity of American women on hot button issues like abortion and marriage. Unless the safeguards are added to the current bill language, the museum will predictably become a shrine to the Left’s view of feminism on our National Mall. It will serve to indoctrinate future generations in the Bella Abzug brand of feminism, not the Rengin Yusuf kind.
Congress needs to stop playing identity politics.
Nance, as it happens, was offered a seat on the commission planning the museum but refused it unless she was allowed to be the commission's chairwoman.
In an attempt to woo social conservatives in advance of a possible presidential bid, Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech at Catholic University today, where he attempted to come across as a uniter on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights while assuring his party’s right flank that he agrees with their hardline policy positions.
The Florida Republican drew heavily from the Religious Right’s persecution narrative to claim that while LGBT people have faced discrimination in the past, he and fellow opponents of marriage equality are now the victims of widespread “intolerance.”
“We should acknowledge that our nation is marred by a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians,” he said. “There was once a time when our federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required federal contractors to identify and fire them. Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants, and many states carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay marriages.”
“Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then,” he continued. “Many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage, and supporters of same-sex marriage argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are discrimination. I respect their arguments, and I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and society.”
But now, according to Rubio, it is gay-rights opponents whose rights are under attack.
He criticized judges who are “redefining marriage from the bench,” claiming that pro-marriage-equality decisions take away the rights of “Americans like myself” who oppose same-sex marriage: “Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislature to change its laws. But Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have the right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing them overturned by a judge.”
Calling tolerance a “two-way street,” he lamented that “today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage.”
“I promise you that even before this speech is over, I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who’s anti-gay,” he said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay. It is pro-traditional marriage.”
The theme was repeated by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, and Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, who joined a panel discussion after Rubio’s speech.
“I think the myth of somehow those who are concerned about these issues from a more conservative standpoint are simply going to evaporate, I think that that is actually fueling some of the things that Sen. Rubio talked about right now, when he did talk about this growing intolerance of those who would define marriage as a conjugal union of a man and a woman,” Moore said.
Nance praised Rubio for his “unifying” message, as opposed to the “divisive” tone of President Obama whom she said “has pitted gays against straights”:
“I believe that this president has been so divisive for this nation. He has pitted men against women, he has pitted wealthy against poor, he has pitted gays against straights, and I was so happy and encouraged by the tone that Sen. Rubio took. It was a unifying message that he gave us today, and I think it was a winning message.”
Sen. Rubio’s office has posted video of his remarks. His comments on LGBT equality and abortion rights begin about 13 minutes in:
The University of South Carolina-Upstate recently announced the closure of its Center for Women’s and Gender Studies following several attacks from Republican politicians who threatened to cut funding from the school over an LGBT comedy event.
Naturally, Concerned Women for America head Penny Nance applauded the move:
“Congratulations to the University of South Carolina Upstate for having the courage and good sense to eliminate a course of study whose sole purpose is to indoctrinate young women in leftist ideology.
“We applaud the University of South Carolina Upstate (USCU) for closing the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS) and allocating those funds to teach America’s founding documents. The decision puts the South Carolina college in compliance with state law requiring those documents be taught and also gives these women a chance at actual employment upon graduation.
“As American women, we strongly support equal opportunity and are glad USCU will instead concentrate on courses that will prepare its young women for jobs instead of joining their other women’s studies sisters in the unemployment line.
“It is surely more beneficial to learn the history of our country then to take part in pointless gender “victimology” lessons. Clearly, they will miss the “I Need Feminism” campaign and CWGS’s 2014 Bodies of Knowledge Symposium that included “Trans, but Not Like You Think”, and planned to include the play How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less. We think they’ll be fine.
“Leftist feminists love to make fun of home economics, which none of us in the CWA national office actually majored in, but we can’t argue with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler that it teaches useful life skills. In fact, it’s far more useful than studying Passages of Appearing: Arendt and the Existential Politics of Transgender Liminality.
“In researching this issue we looked to see how many of the women who have degrees in these women’s studies programs are actually employed. Let’s say they weren’t bragging on their post-graduate employment numbers.
“Of those who are actually employed, we surmise most of those jobs would result in other women’s studies professors. Good news for those jobless feminists though, there may bea chance at employment on the horizon if the Senate joins the Republican establishment in the House of Representatives to push for the Left’s hopeful shrine to abortion, the National Women’s History Museum. (emphasis ours)
“But back to the point. Well done USC Upstate! Women’s studies majors may in fact more clearly understand their “rights” and whether they are actually being violated after a thorough reading of the Constitution. We encourage other universities to follow suit and hope other states will adopt similar policies.”
The House voted 383-33 last night to move forward with a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall, despite an effort by Religious Right groups to prevent the museum from going forward.
Now, we learn that Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, the activist leading the fight against the museum, was offered a spot on its planning board but refused to participate unless an anti-feminist activist like herself was allowed to head the planning effort.
The Daily Caller reports that in an effort to shore up support for a bill authorizing a planning study for the museum, the museum’s chief Republican supporter, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, offered Nance a spot on the museum’s board. Nance refused, saying that she would only accept an offer to lead the museum as the board’s chair or to pick another right-wing activist for the job.
“Regardless of that effort some critics of this legislation have, incorrectly, said that the bill would create a museum that would portray women as monolithic in their views on abortion as well as other issues of concern to women,” said Blackburn, adding that she asked Nance to serve as a member of the commission.
Nance said that the offer — sent by Blackburn’s chief of staff on Tuesday night — is “an exercise in futility and frustration without the chairman being someone who at least is impartial on our views.”
“One seat would not change anything,” said Nance, adding “I am happy to either serve or find someone else to serve as chairman.”
Religious Right groups came out against the plan because, they said, it would place too much emphases on women who had fought for women’s rights. CWA complained that the museum would “indoctrinate” visitors into “a jaundiced view of women’s history” because the museum’s website mentioned pioneering abortion rights advocates but didn’t mention CWA’s founder Beverly LaHaye or fringe right-wing activist Star Parker.
Eagle Forum urged its members to oppose the creation of the museum, saying, “Long sought by feminists, this project would enshrine their warped view of American history on the National Mall” and added that the museum wasn’t needed anyway: “Women's history is American history, and there is already a National Museum of American History on the Mall.”
The Family Research Council warned that the museum would become “a permanent monument to radical feminism and abortion.”
Writing for RedState, David Horowitz called the museum proposal an “interesting endeavor,” but warned that it would “promote leftwing propaganda”:
One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.
In the end, yesterday, activists were only able to persuade 33 Republican House members to vote against a bill that “authorizes a study to find a location for the museum and establish its mission.” Only two of the eighteen Republican women in the House voted against the bill – Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said it would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
But despite her attempted concession to Nance, Blackburn told National Journal that she could not figure out what all the fuss was about: "Look, I'm a pretty conservative person. I can't even follow that train of thought. It's too convoluted for me."
Religious Right groups are celebrating yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding sectarian prayer at official public meetings – like city council sessions – and narrowly defining what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending. The case is Town of Greece v. Galloway.
Though divided on their reasoning, the Court’s five conservative Justices upheld a practice in which, month after month, year after year, town leaders reached out to Christians and Christians only to offer opening prayers at town meetings, prayers that were often quite sectarian in nature. The very few exceptions were in response to this lawsuit. Although town leaders said that members of other religions could lead the opening prayer if they asked to, they had hardly let that be widely known, and they continued to reach out only to Christians.
SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston characterized the Court’s ruling as “[s]topping just short of abandoning a historic barrier to religion in government activity.” Conservative and religious groups hostile to church-state separation are gushing over the ruling and hope it is a sign of more to come.
The Becket Fund signaled that it hopes yesterday’s decision will just be the first step in further dismantling rulings upholding church-state separation. From Deputy General Counsel Eric Rassbach:
“The Court’s landmark decision today echoes the wisdom of the Founders. Not only did the Court uphold the centuries-old practice of legislative prayer, it also started the work of bringing the entire law of church and state onto a firmer foundation in the words of the Constitution.”
David Corman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Town of Greece:
“Opening public meetings with prayer is a cherished freedom that the authors of the Constitution themselves practiced,” he said. “Speech censors should have no power to silence volunteers who pray for their communities just as the Founders did.”
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer celebrated the ruling as a “monster win” and said it was proof that “we are fighting a winnable war,” because the “Supreme Court has ruled that you can have sectarian prayers, prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, to open any legislative session, any lawmaking body – a county commission can do it, a city council can do it, a state government can do it.”
Fischer he went on at great length endorsing Justice Clarence Thomas’s position that the First Amendment does not limit states’ constitutional right to, for example, declare the Southern Baptist Church to be the official state church and force people to support the church with taxes. Fischer, in fact, called Thomas “a stud on the issue of religious liberty.” (Fischer says he wouldn’t personally support coercive state establishment, but he supports Thomas’s constitutional analysis, and says it should be applied to interpret that the federal government has no right to tell public schools whether and how prayer is permitted.) Fischer is delighted that the Supreme Court’s majority decision discussed the fact that the Continental Congress opened with “emphatically Christian” prayer.
Hallelujah! Today YOU helped score a VICTORY at the U.S. Supreme Court, reaching the pinnacle of seven years of work and prayer with The Pray In Jesus Name Project.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it's OK for pastors to pray "in Jesus' name" at city council meetings.
"The court today has upheld our first and most fundamental freedom. The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square. We applaud the majority on the court for getting that right. This is an historic victory for all Americans of faith and for the common-sense reading of the Constitution itself. The Court's affirmation of the right of Americans to practice their faith in public life and the public square is a major win for the religious liberty we have always cherished.”
Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition called it a victory that would empower Religious Right activists to push elected officials to bring sectarian prayer into more official settings:
Reed also announced that, armed with today’s Supreme Court decision, Faith & Freedom Coalition would redouble its efforts to encourage opportunities for prayers offered at meetings by town boards, city councils, and county commissions nationwide. The organization has in the past mobilized public support for local officials who have allowed such prayers at government meetings.
“Speech honoring God and invoking His blessing on our land should be welcomed, not treated with hostility,” said Reed. “With today’s decision, the government officials that faith-based voters help to elect can provide a forum for such expressions without fear of being reversed by future courts.”
Concerned Women for America celebrated, saying the decision “lifts up the best in our country.” CWA President Penny Nance managed to slam what she said has been “a push to establish atheism as the official religion of our land” and claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling was a win for everyone, “even the staunchest atheists.”
Those who object to these practices do not seek to exercise their religious liberty; they merely feel hostile towards other people’s religious practices and seek to silence them. They seek to silence those with whom they disagree….
The Founders of this great nation benefited and relied heavily on prayer to seek the guidance they needed to establish the foundations of our nation. When the first Congress met on September 7, 1774, it began with an amazing prayer “in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.” No religious oppression or favoritism followed from that practice, only the blessings of freedom and liberty, including the freedom of religious thought, belief, or even non-belief.
Everyone wins, including the staunchest atheists, when we allow the free exercise of religion or non-religion according to a person’s conscience.
Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, who specializes in promoting fictitious threats to religious freedom, declared that “the Obama administration has been waging a war against people of the Christian faith,” somehow neglecting to mention that the Obama administration had actually weighed in on the side of the Town of Greece and its overwhelmingly Christian prayers. Starnes said it is “always a good day when the anti-Christian folks get smacked down by the Supreme Court” but said the fact that it was a 5-4 decision should be a “wake-up call” for Americans that elections matter.
Gary Bauer made the same point:
Here's the good news: The Supreme Court today upheld public prayers, even Christian prayers, at government meetings in 5-to-4 decision.
But that is the bad news too! The free exercise of religion depends on just one vote….
Now a win is a win. But don't miss the fact that this victory for religious liberty was won by the narrowest of margins. One more liberal appointment and the Supreme Court could easily ban prayers before town council meetings and legislative sessions. If that were to happen, our Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto would surely be next.
Your vote at the ballot box has a direct impact on our federal courts. Federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court, are appointed (by the president) and confirmed (by the Senate) by the men and women we elect to public office.
Concerned Women For America sent out a press release today with the headline “The Real War on Women: Iraq Introduces Law Legalizing Spousal Rape and Child Brides as American Feminists try to 'Ban Bossy,'" which uses Iraq’s move toward legalizing spousal rape and child marriage to attack feminists in the United States.
In the press release, CWA president Penny Nance rightly condemns the proposed Iraqi measure, but the whole thing quickly takes a bizarre turn when she adds a dig at liberals: “This is the real war on women, and the Left would be wise to wake up to it.”
The press release then quotes CWA senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse, who similarly uses the Iraqi situation to attack American women’s rights advocates, especially Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign:
Such rulings highlight how incredibly out of touch with reality those women are who want free contraception and talk about banning words like ‘bossy.’ Women around the world are dealing with basic human rights issues and the lack of fundamental necessities like good sanitation and pure water, while elite American women are fretting about supposed ‘wars’ on women.
The press release seems to be inspired by a Washington Examiner piece along the same lines by Ashe Schow. Nance previously attacked the “Ban Bossy” campaign in a Fox News op-ed in which she used Jay-Z and Beyonce lyrics to claim that the campaign was hypocritical.
Putting aside the serious lapses in logic behind CWA’s argument, we’re left with a few questions. For instance, does the group think that fellow anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly is also waging a war on women when she argues that there is no such thing as spousal rape? And will it praise Planned Parenthood for working to stop violence against women, including marital rape, across the world?
As we’ve been reporting, the American Religious Right has found itself in a tough spot following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, since many Religious Right leaders have not only praised Putin’s anti-gay, anti-choice policies but are planning to attend a World Congress of Families summit at the Kremlin later this year.
Now, one such group that previously praised Putin has announced that it will pull out of the Moscow summit. Buzzfeed reported yesterday that Concerned Women for America will no longer be participating in the World Congress of Families event because, as the group’s CEO Penny Nance said, “I don’t want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin.”
CWA’s choice is especially surprising because its senior fellow, Janice Shaw Crouse, is amember of the board of the World Congress of Families and has been a vocal defender of Putin’s social policies. Last month, Crouse even appeared at a press conference promoting the Moscow summit.
Now the question becomes whether other American groups will follow Nance’s lead. An organizing meeting for the event in October included Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Benjamin Bull of Alliance Defending Freedom, Justin Murff of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute.
A draft program for the event that was obtained by Buzzfeed includes speeches by ADF president Allan Sears, Focus president Jim Daly, Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Brown, Ruse and Murff, among others.
The World Congress of Families’ Larry Jacobs said at last month’s press conference that members of the U.S. Congress would also attend the event, though he would not specify which ones since he said their confirmations were not yet finalized. The draft program also accounts for speeches from unidentified members of Congress. to speak.
As we’ve noted, the planned summit is more than just a trip to Moscow. It’s being held at the Kremlin with funding from key Putin allies and will include a joint forum with Russia’s parliament. In addition, the World Congress of Families itself has been working to support Putin’s crackdown on LGBT rights in Russia, along with his push to keep Ukraine out of the European Union. Riling up hostility to gay rights, in particular, has become a powerful wedge issue for Russian-aligned, anti-EU activists in Ukraine.
Ruse articulated the apparent attitude of many American groups when he told Buzzfeed that although the Ukraine invasion “muddied the water,” he had not been concerned about working so closely with the Putin regime until now, “because the Russian government has been quite good on our issues.”
Nance is aware of the message that her group’s participation in the summit would send. Will anybody else follow her lead?
Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, writes in a Christian Post column this week that legal abortion “is the seminal human rights issue of our time” and a “heart-breaking atrocity against mankind” that is worse than the Holocaust.
Abortion is the seminal human rights issue of our time. For our grandparent's generation, the Holocaust was the most heart-breaking atrocity against mankind. As many as 1.5 million Jewish children were killed as a result of the Nazis' horrific genocide scheme. What's shameful is that America surpassed this number of little lives lost to a cruel genocide long ago. Since 1973, the deaths of more than 54 million unborn children have been reported in the United States alone. Every year, approximately 1.21 million more unborn children will be aborted. And nearly 4,000 abortions are performed daily, as reported by National Right to Life. This is an injustice which must end.
Texas this week is ground zero in the abortion debate, as pro-life supporters engage in a righteous battle to protect babies in utero and their mothers. And as one side of the debate sang "Amazing Grace" and the other chanted "Hail, Satan," we clearly see the founding principles on which opposing belief systems are based. One is life. One is death.
Earlier this year, Nance linked then-transportation secretary nominee Anthony Foxx to the Holocaust, claiming that his declaration of a National Day of Reason represented the kind of thinking that “led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust.”
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America claimed today that anti-gay marriage activists should get ready for “persecution” now that the Supreme Court has overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. Speaking on The Mike Huckabee Show, Nance warned that same-sex marriage is like “counterfeit money” that “takes at something that’s the real deal and diminishes it,” adding that the legalization of polygamy is coming next.
Later in the show, Nance said the government will “cast aside” around “two thousand years of tradition” and “hurt everyone” by recognizing same-sex unions.
As we mentioned yesterday, Concerned Women for America is launching a new campaign to encourage young people to oppose abortion rights and marriage equality. CWA president Penny Nance writes in the Christian Post this week that young people are increasingly supportive of legalizing same-sex marriage because pastors have focused on issues like sex trafficking rather than addressing why gays and lesbians should be barred from marrying.
She urges readers to work towards “thwarting threats to society's foundations and threats to anyone's religious freedom,” warning that if same-sex marriage is legalized then “children, communities, and governments suffer.”
Nance claims right-wing youth will be like David fighting the gay Goliath in the midst of “judicial despots” on the Supreme Court attempting to “redefine God’s law.”
The Supreme Court is reviewing challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Lower courts ruled against these marriage laws, so now the Supreme Court has the opportunity to uphold marriage and return authority for marriage policy to citizens and their elected representatives, or step in as judicial despots and cut the debate short by making a broad stroke ruling. And pastors and conservative politicians are stuck in a game of "Would You Rather?"
• Would you rather address the issue of sex trafficking or marriage? Sex Trafficking.
• Would you rather talk about abortion or the definition of marriage? Abortion.
• Would you rather talk about financial responsibility or marital responsibility? Easy choice.
We are losing battles as Christian conservatives follow their leaders into no man's land -- the land of not actually saying what you believe, where no man is offended because no man actually says anything. The issue of marriage is the perfect example. Many feel it is just too hard to talk about this issue. As it becomes more and more politically incorrect to support marriage only defined as the union between one man and one woman, many have decided to be silent in this area and just focus on other things. "Love," they say.
We all have friends and family who are homosexuals and we love them. We feel for them and we care deeply about their well being. As Christians, our whole belief system is summarized in loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves. And that is our chief objective.
We know there is a growing proportion of believers who seek to live peacefully in this world yet have a growing realization of their place on today's frontlines. We are unable to feign ignorance any longer, as those who touted 'tolerance', unabashedly refuse to tolerate our belief system.
You and I deserve to have the debate. We'd rather not have the Supreme Court step in and try and decide for a nation how it feels on an issue so important, like it did in Roe v. Wade, forever affecting the ability of states to decide for themselves the public policy best for its citizens. We want traditional marriage preserved and supported in law and culture.
It's time to preach to the choir, because the choir has stopped singing truth and has instead taken up a politically correct tune deafening our culture to the reality of what's at stake. As Martin Luther put it, "If I profess with the loudest voice the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity."
As Believers we are called not just be a light to this world, but also to be the salt of the earth and preserve our culture by thwarting threats to society's foundations and threats to anyone's religious freedom.
Marriage is the special union crafted as a holy covenant between a man, a woman, and God. Marriage is the only institution by which our children are conceived and the best in which to raise them. Marriage identifies the recognizable authority of a mother and a father who are ordained with the responsibility of rearing the future generation. We could never grant these same responsibilities to two heterosexuals who simply live together because marriage is more than a living arrangement. When the government broadens the definition of marriage beyond its traditional parameters, children, communities, and governments suffer. We are already suffering from a 43 percent out of wedlock birth rate in this nation. Anything that further erodes and diminishes marriage must be avoided for many reasons, not the least of which being the incredible damage wrought on our society.
The time has come to decide whether you will be the David to this Goliath in our culture. Are you willing to sacrifice your time to educate yourself on the statistics that back up our Biblical beliefs? Are you willing to sacrifice your energy to speak truth in love to those who question your beliefs? Are you willing to choose this day whom you will serve?
Whether the Supreme Court rules to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act or not, our mission does not change. We know there is a battle raging, but our 'great commission' with Christ has given us the ability to equip ourselves and be willing to engage. Where the battle rages, loyalty is proved. That one point of loyalty may be different for each of us. It may be marriage, abortion, national sovereignty, religious liberty, fiscal responsibility, support for Israel, or freedom of conscience. Your belief is personal, but your profession of faith must be public. While the Supreme Court, your state, and your local school board can redefine America's laws, they can never redefine God's law. We are willing. Are you?
When HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled an FDA recommendation to allow the sale of the Plan B morning-after pill over the counter to women without age restrictions, Religious Right groups weren’t able to come up with a coherent response. Several conservative activists alleged (without any evidence) that the move was intended to compel women to go to Planned Parenthood clinics instead of pharmacies, while Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel came up with the bizarre claim that the Obama administration actually opposed the position it had taken and even defended in court.
Now that the courts have sided with reproductive justice organizations that supported the FDA’s original assessment of Plan B, the administration has relented and agreed to allow sales of Plan B without a prescription.
Naturally, groups opposed to contraception are now enraged that the Obama administration is complying with the rulings.
Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance accused the administration of having “abandoned common sense,” saying she “fear[s] for the future health and wellness of women and children.” CWA senior fellow Janice Crouse warned that “it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream.”
Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life asserted that the Plan B case was further proof the “President Obama is waging a War on Girls” and endorsing “child abuse.”
Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council said girls will now be forced to take Plan B “under coercion or without their consent.”
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America told LifeNews: “Though President Obama himself has said ‘as the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine,’ his administration has abandoned common sense and will allow our nation’s teens and young girls to have access to a highly powerful drug forty times stronger than birth control. I sincerely fear for the future health and wellness of women and children, as doctors, parents, and pharmacists are eliminated from this very serious conversation about sexual activity, pregnancy, fertility, and overall health.”
Janice Crouse, also of CWFA, responded: “Once again, those who yell the loudest about caring about the nation’s children and youth applaud a decision to place our kids in a special interest experiment. Plan B, popularly called the ‘morning-after pill’ is a much-higher-dosage version of the regular birth control pill (which used to require a doctor’s prescription and continued doctor’s supervision). It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone – including those predators who exploit young girls. Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream – unlimited access to Plan B.”
She added: “This is a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors?”
Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also weighed in on the decision.
She told LifeNews: “President Obama is waging a War on Girls by allowing young children to get Plan B without a physician or parent’s care or knowledge. The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum? This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”
“There is a real danger that Plan B may be given to young girls, under coercion or without their consent. The involvement of parents and medical professionals act as a safeguard for these young girls. However, today’s ruling removes these commonsense protections,” concluded Higgins.
Mike Huckabee was joined by Concerned Women for America head Penny Nance yesterday to discuss CWA’s new campaign, Willing 2 Stand, designed to reach out to young people on their opposition to abortion rights and marriage equality. During most of the interview, Nance maintained that conservatives on college campuses were “bullied” and had trouble articulating their views on topics like gay rights.
The former governor and presidential candidate said that “every fear that people had” about the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage “has in fact come true,” arguing that people have lost “their rights” in states with marriage equality.
Huckabee seemed especially sad that he now has to see “television commercials portraying same-sex couples” while textbooks are “forced” to mention gay marriage.
The very thing that many people and I know CWA was a part of this, saying, this is why the legalization of same-sex marriage is going to be a much bigger issue than just saying we let people love whoever they want to love, that’s not the issue. Will it force businesses—of course everyone will say, oh no people still have their rights, but they don’t. And every fear that people had has in fact come true, that this is being forced in textbooks on how marriage is depicted, we’re now even seeing television commercials portraying same-sex couples, that’s something I guess I didn’t expect to see anytime soon.
It was only last year that Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance criticized the term “war on women” as “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles” among Democrats. She predicted that women would turn on Obama and wouldn't vote on issues such as abortion rights or birth control access (unless they are anti-choice). Of course, exit polls showed that Obama carried women voters over Romney 55-44% and that 59% of voters said abortion should be legal either in all or most cases.
So it should come as no surprise that Nance is now using the “war” rhetoric in her latest Washington Times op-ed: “When high-sounding legislation becomes a war against women.” That’s right, she now believes that there is in fact a war on women, but that it comes from supporters of the Violence Against Women Act.
She claims that VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” even though 93 Senators voted for Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment focused on combating the trafficking of women and girls.
The Violence Against Women Act headed to the president’s desk lulls Americans into believing that actual violence was addressed Thursday when, in reality, Congress pushed through a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.
Within the Senate version of the act is an amendment by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, that decimates the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors, and assaults the conscience protections of groups that have a history of hands-on help for these victims.
The Violence Against Women Act also promotes the decriminalization of prostitution of minors for states, which is also dangerous for trafficking victims. Decriminalization provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry by telling the minors that it is not illegal and that they will not get arrested. In Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, child prostitution increased after prostitution was legalized. Why would the outcome be any different here if states decriminalize prostitution for minors? Section 1243 seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors:
It prohibits the charging of a minor for a prostitution offense. This removes all judicial discretion from the process.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that there were only 895 arrests of minors for prostitution in 2010. In 2011, the number of arrests dropped to 763. Over the past seven years, arrests of minors for prostitution have averaged 1,067 annually.
Decriminalization provides a great recruiting tool for gangs, pimps and traffickers, who can say, “Don’t worry; it’s not illegal.”
The lesson Congress has learned from the “war on women” apparently is that as long as the title of the legislation sounds good, you must vote for it — even if it is bad policy.
When the U.S. Senate finally confirmed Chuck Hagel to head the Department of Defense yesterday, Religious Right leaders who actively campaigned and prayed against his nomination were sorely disappointed.
The Family Research Council’s prayer team today warned that Hagel, along with President Obama, have put America “on dangerous ground” as “those in power have forgotten God's covenant with Abraham: to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her.”
Indeed, FRC suggests that Hagel’s confirmation may even bring about the judgment of God: “Students of Bible prophecy have said that amid America's declining American faith and morals, our support for Israel has slowed the advance of God's judgment since 2001. But each step we take farther away from Israel has repercussions with respect to that balance.”
Chuck Hagel Confirmed - Today, former Senator Chuck Hagel began his new job as Secretary of Defense.Senate Republicans had rightly criticized Hagel as unqualified based upon his historic disdain for Israel, support for the Palestinian cause, favor of negotiation with Hamas and Iran, lack of any managerial experience, and more, yet 18 Republicans chose not to use their cloture vote to prevent his confirmation. Four supported Hagel directly in the final vote: Thad Cochran (Miss.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Mike Johanns (Neb.) and Rand Paul (Ky.). With a President and Defense Secretary who have often shown hostility toward Israel and favor toward our mutual enemies, Bible believing Christians know the U.S. is on dangerous ground. Those in power have forgotten God's covenant with Abraham: to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. Christians must keep extra vigil, standing in the gap for Israel and America, that our leaders will keep faith with our historic friendship and alliance. Students of Bible prophecy have said that amid America's declining American faith and morals, our support for Israel has slowed the advance of God's judgment since 2001. But each step we take farther away from Israel has repercussions with respect to that balance.
May God's people, who understand God's severe warnings against nations that oppose His plan for Israel, pray, stand boldly and speak out to preserve our nation's commitment to God's covenant people and land! (Gen 12:3; Ps 137: all, Is 40:1-2; 59:15-16; 62:6; Zech 12:3-9; Eze 36:24, 35; 37:11-12, 21, 25; 38:8; Hos 3:4-5; Joel 3:1-2; Amos 9:15; Zech 2:12; 8:7-8; Lk 21:24; Rom 1:16; Eph 6:10 ff)
Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance also chided Hagel for allegedly supporting the disarmament of the US.
The confirmation of former-Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next civilian head of the United States Military doesn't make American families feel safer, because we as a nation are more vulnerable under his leadership. Hagel does not have a sound understanding of the global threats facing America, nor does he have the discernment needed for a workable defense policy.
The Senate has failed to properly vet this candidate. As if his shaky, inconsistent committee hearing wasn't enough to show his lack of qualifications, we can also add his failure to submit critical documents. Motives follow money, and Hagel's refusal to submit financial documents, as well as his omission of funding sources, reiterates his real motives.
Our national security interests stand at a threatening juncture. Hagel's record shows his lack of knowledge when it comes to nuclear disarmament, and his vision for how to deal with these issues is dangerous to American families. While in the Senate, he voted to adopt Global Zero and reconfirmed his opinion by saying, "How can we preach to other countries that you can't have nuclear weapons but we can and our allies can?" Countries like North Korea and Iran are on the verge of nuclear power; it's naive to put false hope in the fact that anti-American countries would cease their pursuit of nuclear capability if we disarm ourselves.
By confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, the Senate has catered, once again, to the president's wants and overlooked the needs of the American people.
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families and the Emergency Committee for Israel, who earlier claimed that Hagel will “invite acts of aggression and terrorism” against the US, said he can no longer trust Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) after he voted in favor of Hagel’s confirmation.
Sadly, the Senate voted yesterday 58-to-41 to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. I say sadly because I never thought I would see the day when a nominee for Secretary of Defense endorsed by Louis Farrakhan would be confirmed! But that day has arrived.
Every Senate Democrat voted for Hagel. They were joined by four Republicans -- Thad Cochran (MS), Mike Johanns (NE), Rand Paul (KY) and Richard Shelby (AL). All four votes are depressing, but I want to comment on Senator Paul's vote.
When Rand Paul ran for the Senate three years ago, there were concerns about his views on Israel and the Middle East. He has tried to dispel the doubts.
In January, Paul traveled to Israel and said, "I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America." He later said, "I think we should … announce to the world … that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States." That is why his vote for Hagel yesterday was so disappointing.
And it is disappointing for another reason too. Paul explained his vote for Hagel by saying, "The president gets to choose political appointees." That's true to a point, but Paul is under no obligation to vote for them.
Rand Paul's claim to conservative support is that he is a champion of constitutional government. The Founding Fathers could have easily said that the president gets to appoint his cabinet and left it at that. But after a protracted debate, they decided that the president's nominees must receive the consent of the Senate.
Paul's explanation implies he is ignoring the clear words of the Constitution in exchange for a formulation that suggests presidential appointments are essentially guaranteed. That doesn't pass the straight face test.
I don't see how anyone who claims to support a strong national defense, who wants to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and who believes that Israel is our best ally could vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. If Rand Paul wants to be a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2016, he has some explaining to do.
People For the American Way Foundation’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics is grounded in our commitment to religious liberty and church-state separation, and in the recognition that fundamental constitutional values sometimes come into creative tension. Where to draw the lines in any particular situation can be a challenge, and even people who generally agree on constitutional principles may disagree about how they should apply on a given policy question. Nothing demonstrates this complexity more than the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that American women have access to contraception and reproductive health services while addressing objections that such requirements would violate the conscience of some religious employers.
Religious Right groups and their allies at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have for months been portraying the Obama administration’s proposed rules requiring insurance coverage of contraception as totalitarian threats to religious liberty, even after the administration adjusted its initial proposal to address those concerns. Some Religious Right leaders are sticking with their ludicrous “tyranny” message even after the Obama administration today released a further revision that broadens the number of religious groups that will be exempt from new requirements while still guaranteeing women access to contraception.
In describing the policy proposal, HHS Deputy Director of Policy and Regulation Chiquita Brooks-LaSure told reporters, “No nonprofit religious institution will be forced to pay for or provide contraceptive coverage, and churches and houses of worship are specifically exempt.” Under the plan, women who work for such organizations would have access to no-cost contraception coverage through other channels.
Here’s where it gets interesting: The new proposal won praise both from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America – and from right-wing ideologue Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who called it “a sign of goodwill by the Obama administration toward the Catholic community.”
In contrast, the proposal was slammed by the far-right Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America – and by Catholics for Choice, which said, “While protecting contraceptive access under the ACA is a win for women, the administration’s caving in to lobbying from conservative religious pressure groups is a loss for everyone.” Catholics for Choice warned that a broadened exemption for religious groups “gives religious extremists carte blanche to trump the rights of others” and that women working at Catholic organizations “are wondering whether they’ll be able to get the same coverage as millions of other women, or if their healthcare just isn’t as important to the president as their bosses’ beliefs about sex and reproduction.”
James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, portrayed the approach as a win-win. “As Catholics United said from the very beginning, reasonable people knew it was right to be patient and hopeful that all sides could come together to solve this complex issue. The White House deserves praise in alleviating the Church’s concerns.”
Leading advocates for women’s heath praised the new approach. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood said the group would be taking a look at the details, but said “This policy makes it clear that your boss does not get to decide whether you can have birth control.” A statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America said the group“is optimistic that these new draft regulations will make near-universal contraceptive coverage a reality.”
Meanwhile, anti-choice advocates that have been pushing for rules that would exempt even individual business owners who have objections to providing contraceptive coverage for their employees complained that the new exemption would not extend to private businesses.
Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance said the new rules show Obama’s “intent to trample the religious liberties of Americans” and said, “When religious groups and individual Americans are forced to deny their deeply held religious convictions, it is not called “balance,” it’s called “tyranny.” The Family Research Council repeated Religious Right characterizations of the previous accommodation as an “accounting gimmick.”
People For the American Way believes that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that women have access to family planning services. Indeed, Dr. Linda Rosentock, dean of the UCLA's school of public health and a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that was part of the review process on the HHS regulations, testified last year that the Centers for Disease Control has ranked family planning as one of the major public health achievements of the 20th Century.
People For the American Way is also deeply concerned about the efforts by Religious Right groups and its conservative Catholic allies to re-define “religious liberty” in unprecedented ways that would allow groups to take taxpayer dollars without abiding by reasonable regulations such as anti-discrimination requirements – and to allow private employers and others to claim exemption from all kinds of laws based on “religious” or “moral grounds.”
In this case, we believe the Obama administration has acted in good faith to promote the nation’s public health interests while addressing concerns that those policies might burden religious liberty. Our courts have long recognized that religious liberty, like the freedom of speech, is not absolute, and that policymakers must often balance competing interests. That is what the administration has done.