Tony Perkins / September 9, 2015

Voters Tired of a Halfway House

Let’s hope Congress got plenty of rest in August, because it looks like they’re going to need it! With just 12 legislative days to handle a bushel basket of crises, members won’t have the luxury of easing back into their routines. [Today’s] first GOP conference of September will likely be a long one, as conservatives try to hash out their strategies over two critical issues. On the foreign policy front, members will be tackling the President’s deeply flawed Iran deal, while on the domestic side, Congress is mulling a budgetary response to the abominable Planned Parenthood. Before the House and Senate recessed, most Republicans left little doubt as to where they stood on the issues. But where they stand and how they respond are two very different questions for this leadership team.

Let’s hope Congress got plenty of rest in August, because it looks like they’re going to need it! With just 12 legislative days to handle a bushel basket of crises, members won’t have the luxury of easing back into their routines. [Today’s] first GOP conference of September will likely be a long one, as conservatives try to hash out their strategies over two critical issues.

On the foreign policy front, members will be tackling the President’s deeply flawed Iran deal, while on the domestic side, Congress is mulling a budgetary response to the abominable Planned Parenthood. Before the House and Senate recessed, most Republicans left little doubt as to where they stood on the issues. But where they stand and how they respond are two very different questions for this leadership team.

On the baby harvesting scandal, the Center for Medical Progress only intensified matters by releasing another five horrifying videos during the August break. Whether it’s the Planned Parenthood parts buyer requesting “another 50 livers a week” or her mockery of the horrified responses of lab technicians who open packages of intact babies, Americans are increasingly determined to stop this federally funded Frankenstein.

Unfortunately for voters, political realities tend to drive these leaders’ decision-making — instead of the grisly realities of what’s taking place. For once, we have volumes of compelling evidence against Planned Parenthood — probably the best and most sweeping case for taking them off the federal dole since pro-lifers started making one. But as usual, some Republicans are more worried about shutting down the government than they are about shutting off the gravy train to a group that tears babies apart and sells the pieces for money.

“The American people,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “should no longer be forced to fund the abortion industry; therefore we will oppose any government funding legislation that would authorize or provide federal funds for Planned Parenthood.” While most of his party would agree, they differ on how to go about it. Most conservatives, including FRC, think the Republican Party needs to force the President and his party to address the issue, which means attaching it to a must-pass piece of legislation, like the short-term bill to keep the government running after October 1.

But that spooks some leaders, who are too busy trying to estimate the political costs to count the moral costs of a coarsened nation. Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) don’t want a messy budget fight. But the reality is, Republicans didn’t make this mess. Planned Parenthood did. And it’s time they were held accountable for it.

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) has been one of the most outspoken members on that cause — even going so far as to sponsor the moratorium on funding that FRC supported. Then [Monday], she told The Hill, “I am supportive of any and every viable solution to defund Planned Parenthood. That said, I do not support a government shutdown.”

Obviously, we want to fund the government too — as long as that government isn’t funding Planned Parenthood. Like us, Rep. Black knows that President Obama would refuse to sign a budget that defunds his abortion pals, so she thinks the House should move a standalone bill instead. Of course, the problem with that is, it won’t go anywhere. In order for the House to force a showdown on Planned Parenthood, her language to defund the group has to be on a must-pass piece of legislation — like a budget continuing resolution (CR). If it isn’t, pro-lifers will lose any and all leverage. If the House wants to hold a standalone vote in addition to the CR, fine. But for the legislation to have teeth, it will have to be on a must-pass bill too.

For this push to have a prayer, conservatives have to put the onus on the Democrats. If the Left wants to shut down the government in support of a group that carves up innocent babies for profit, let them explain that to voters. I guarantee the country will be a whole lot harder on a Republican Party who tells them to wait (again). First it was “Wait until we have a Republican House.” Then it was “Wait until we have control of Congress.” Now it’s “Wait until we have a Republican President.” They heard the same excuses on ObamaCare. At some point, voters want leaders to act now — and let the country assign the blame for whatever follows.

Kim Davis: Freed but Not Free

Most of us haven’t spent a single night in jail. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has spent five. The Kentucky Christian, now the face of a national firefight over religious liberty, is the first believer to test the theory that the government is willing to jail men and women of faith who disagree with the Supreme Court’s definition of marriage.

Judge David Bunning turned the prophecy into reality last week, when he ordered the bailiff to put Davis, a second generation clerk, behind bars for refusing to issue court-created same-sex marriage licenses. The mom of grown children spent the holiday weekend in a cell, while Americans shook their heads in astonishment at the hostile place our once-welcoming nation had become. In editorials on her imprisonment that took up pages of last Sunday’s editions, many compared Davis to a modern Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr. “This is what the other side wants,” bemoaned one LGBT activist. “This a biblical story, to go to jail for your faith. We don’t want to make her a martyr to the people who are like her, who want to paint themselves as victims.”

After meeting with her [yesterday] afternoon, I can tell you that Kim Davis isn’t a martyr — she’s a hero. What the Left is almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. And months from now, we may all look back and realize that she was the example that sparked a blaze of resistance across this country. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, she is surrounded by hundreds of Americans who stand with her.

A few hours before a rally in her defense, Judge Bunning (whom the American Bar Association accurately rated “not qualified” in 2001) decided that jailing Kim may not send the most helpful message — and freed her. Unfortunately, she and her fellow clerks haven’t been released from their ideological prison, which still demands that they violate their faith to do their jobs. “We’re back to Square One,” her attorney and Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver said. “She’s been released, but there’s been no resolution.”

Shortly after the latest development, I applauded Kim for her boldness. Standing with Governor Mike Huckabee, I told the rally (video here), “When the arbitrary edits of man conflict with the explicit instructions of God, we cannot and must not submit — no matter the cost.” As I told the #ImWithKim crowd, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He did not say, “Blessed are the pacifists.” There’s a grave misconception in this country that religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice. The myth is that you have the ability to believe as you wish within the four walls of that church and between your two ears, as long as you don’t speak about it in public.

Think about that for a moment. Do you really think William Bradford and the Pilgrims were just trying to move their church membership? Weren’t there churches a little closer that that would not have resulted in nearly half of them dying that first winter in Plymouth? They came for what Kim Davis is standing for. They came for the ability to live their lives according to their Christian faith. And now it’s time for the government of this country to step back and let us.

Navy Sinks Left’s Chances of Sabotage

If anyone understands the importance of religious liberty, it’s a military chaplain! And today, the Navy’s Wes Modder is celebrating the free exercise of it during a monumental turning point in his case. For months, FRC has been working with members of Congress and the Defense Department to vindicate Chaplain Modder, while Liberty Institute argued his case before top Navy officials.

Late last week, the military finally exonerated Chaplain Modder for doing what he was hired to do: counsel sailors according to the Christian faith. As you may remember, Modder was relieved from his job after his own temporary assistant, who hid the fact that he was a homosexual and married to another man, reported him to the Equal Opportunity office for promoting the biblical morality his sponsoring church espoused. The almost 20-year Navy vet served 8,000 combat service members “with distinction” until he was ordered to clean out his office for not being socially liberal enough.

Despite months of legal limbo, the Navy ultimately sided with Modder, who can continue to serve without a blemish on his record. As Liberty Institute’s Michael Berry told our good friend and Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes, “This is not only a great day for Chaplain Modder, but for every American who supports religious freedom in our military.” You can hear more of Chaplain Modder’s harrowing tale at this year’s Values Voter Summit, where he’ll join bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein and Kentucky Clerk Casey Davis on a powerful panel on religious liberty. If you haven’t registered for this month’s event, visit ValuesVoterSummit.org!


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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